Court documents have been lodged with the Federal Court in Sydney this (Wednesday) afternoon on behalf of eight screened-out Tamil asylum seekers on Christmas Island.
The action in the Federal Court follows successful action a week ago in the High Court that saw the government back down and allow 56 Tamils previously slated for removal to make protection claims.
A phone call early on Tuesday morning (11 December) from a Tamil family in Sri Lanka alerted the Tamil community to the risk faced by the eight men.
The eight had been assembled inside the Christmas Island detention centre along with around 40 Sinhalese Sri Lankans also scheduled for removal on Monday night (10 December). The process followed similar lines to that last week (6 December) that saw 46 Sri Lankans deported after being flown from Christmas Island to Darwin.
On Monday night however, for unknown reasons, the deportation did not go ahead. After two or three hours the asylum seekers were returned to compounds in the main detention centre.
Phone calls from the men yesterday allowed court documents to be prepared and lodged today (Wednesday).
No response has been received from the government regarding the fate of the eight Tamils and other Sinhalese asylum seekers.
“We urge the government to end its secret screening out practices, and allow asylum seekers to make their claims for protection so they can be properly considered,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “Sending people back to Sri Lanka is a dangerous process. Asylum seekers are being handed over to a regime that is internationally condemned for its human right abuses.
“It is highly likely that the government abandoned its Monday night deportation to avoid any embarrassment over the Foreign Minister’s Friday visit to Sri Lanka.
“Rather than shaking the hand of a leader accused of war crimes, and collaborating to stop persecuted Sri Lankans fleeing a tyrant, perhaps Bob Carr should visit the asylum seekers in Negombo jail and assure them of Australia’s support.”
PROTEST: The Sydney Refugee Action Coalition is holding a protest , Thursday 13 December, 5.00-6.30pm Pitt Street Mall, (Market Street entrance), calling for the closure of Nauru and Manus Island and for an end screening out asylum seekers.
For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713
Category: Press releases