Refugee supporters urge Barnaby Joyce to release Syrian accountant from Villawood

| September 7, 2015 | Reply

The Refugee Action Coalition has welcomed Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s call for Australia to resettle more Syrian refugees.

The Minister was quoted saying, “As an accountant myself, when you see an accountant walking across the border into Hungary from Syria when his life has been destroyed I feel a sense of empathy for him.”

“Barnaby Joyce has only got to look to the Villawood detention centre to find a Syrian accountant asylum seeker who has been in detention over two years. I hope Barnaby Joyce’s empathy extends to him,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“He spent a year on Manus Island and now a year in Villawood. It is time he was freed from detention.”

The 43 year-old asylum seeker whose house in Aleppo was destroyed in 2012 by bombs dropped by the Assad regime, is one of at least six Syrians being held in Villawood, Manus and Nauru. His wife and four children remain in danger in Syria. “We are calling for the government to release all Syrians from detention. It is sheer hypocrisy for the government to express any concerns at all for the Syrian asylum seekers fleeing to Europe while it condemns Syrian asylum seekers seeking protection in Australia to indefinite detention on and off shore.”

Around two weeks ago, the Australian government removed one Syrian asylum seeker from Manus to Syria even though IOM (which is usually contracted to arrange asylum seeker returns) refused because Syria is too dangerous. The Government refused to resettle the man in Australia and also refused to consider any third country from which he could have sought to help his family. His friends have not heard of the man since he was returned.

“Notwitstanding Baranby Joyce’s comments about Syrian accountants, the hypocrisy of the Abbott government over Syrian refugees is starkly being revealed.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Category: Press releases

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