ASIO assessments are flawed, not fair: Independent inquiry needed

| May 22, 2013 | Reply

The Refugee Action Coalition has welcomed ASIO’s re-assessment of its adverse security finding in the case of Manokalo and her six year old son. But the new finding raises fundamental questions about the credibility of ASIO’s security assessments of refugees.

“It strains credibility that ASIO has made this new assessment before the Margaret Stone review has made any decision,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“ASIO has systemically refused repeated requests to make reassessments of any of its adverse findings against refugees. It has insisted that it would only review cases if requested by the immigration department.

“Now suddenly, Manokalo is no longer a security risk. It is now beholden on ASIO to reveal what has changed that Manokalo is no longer a risk, or was their assessment wrong 18 months ago? Everyone but ASIO knew that Manokalo was no threat when she was first detained. Manokalo and her son have been detained for 18 months for nothing. It has been heart-breaking for her; it has been heart-breaking watching her struggling to cope with the injustice inflicted on her and her son.

“ASIO’s reversal has thrown more doubt on the validity of assessments of all the ASIO negative refugees. This is exactly what happened when things got too hot for ASIO in 2006. That year, ASIO suddenly reversed its assessment of Mohammed Faisal who had been detained on Nauru for five years.

“There now needs to be an independent assessment of ASIO and its procedures to make these reviews in the first place. The government needs to move urgently to establish equal rights for refugees and citizens to review ASIO assessments. Without this, there is not a skerrick of transparency or accountability.

“The Minister has always had the power to release the ASIO negative refugees. Now we see why he should have used it. He can’t delay any longer. The ASIO negative refugees should be released.”

For more information contact, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.

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