Friday, October 1, 2010

Government lifts discriminatory asylum seeker policy

The Federal Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, announced yesterday that the government has lifted the suspension on the processing of asylum claims by Afghan nationals, effective immediately.

Dr Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator for Amnesty International, welcomed the move however stated that the Australian government deserved no praise for reversing this harmful, discriminatory policy.

“Around one thousand Afghan individuals, including families with children, have been subject to this freeze. As a result, many of them are likely to spend close to a year, if not longer, in remote detention facilities while the government scrambles to process their claims. This is manifestly unacceptable.”

“It should not be forgotten than the current issues we are seeing in Australia’s detention facilities are problems of the government’s own making, and the results of short-sighted and ill-considered moves such as this policy.”

Afghan asylum seekers affected by the suspension will now be provided with access to an Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme agent and assistance in preparing claims.

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