Refugee advocates urge intervention to stop first forced removal to Afghanistan

| February 2, 2014 | Reply

Refugee advocates are calling on Scott Morrison to halt the imminent deportation of a Hazara asylum seeker from Villawood detention centre to Afghanistan, scheduled for Tuesday night, 4 February.

Last minute legal action is also being sought to prevent what would be the first ever forced removal to Afghanistan. The last attempt to forcibly remove an Afghan asylum seeker was in November 2011.

The 65 year-old Hazara is scheduled to be returned to Kabul even though he has not lived in Afghanistan since 1986 and his wife and 10 children are living in Quetta in Pakistan.

The Hazara man is the victim of the same ‘relocation’ argument used to initially reject Fawad Ahmad, the spin blower. In Fawad’s case, the argument was overturned by then-Minister Chris Bowen, whose actions were supported by the Liberal Opposition.

The relocation argument is a travesty yet it is routinely used by some members of the Refugee Review Tribunal to administratively deny refugee status to people who are found to be in need of protection.

“The Refugee Review Tribunal accepted that ‘it will not be safe’ for him to live in his home province of Khas Uruzgan, but that he can relocate and live in Kabul. But he has had no connection with Afghanistan for 37 years. The man has no family; no connections; no money and no possibility of surviving in Kabul,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Kabul is not safe. The security situation has deteriorated badly since the RRT decision in 2012. Rocket attacks hit Kabul last December and deadly Taliban bombings rocked Kabul in January this year and a Shia mosque was targeted in September 2013.

“It defies common sense and justice that the Minister would send this man to Kabul. Scott Morrison supported overturning the relocation argument in the case of Fawad Ahmad. If he applies the same reasoning in this case, he will stop the removal.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713.

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