To: Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen MP
Stop the deportation of Hazara asylum seekers to Afghanistan.
Dear Minister Bowen,
I understand that there is a distinct and disturbing possibility that a group of Hazara asylum seekers will be deported to Afghanistan – possibly as soon as 29 November. Unless you intervene on their behalf, these men will be denied protection, and they will be deported to great danger in Afghanistan. It is well documented that Hazara people are routinely persecuted in Afghanistan.
Advocates who are familiar with the situation of these people are gravely concerned about their welfare as they fled from Afghanistan in fear of their lives. There are real concerns that these people have not been given the opportunity for their claims for refugee status to be fully and fairly reviewed. The rule of law and principles of fairness are deeply valued in our Australian society, and we need to ensure justice for people seeking asylum and treat them with dignity and decency.
I am very concerned that these threatened deportations are in part motivated by your desire to be ‘tough on asylum seekers’ and are aimed at creating fear within these communities in the hope of deterring others from coming to Australia to seek asylum and protection. The current focus on deterrence denies the right of people to seek asylum, violates human rights and fosters fear and prejudice within the Australian community.
I am asking that you intervene to stop the deportation of these people and ensure that their claims are assessed fully and fairly.
Why is this important?
This group of Hazara people have not had the opportunity to have their cases assessed by the Refugee Review Tribunal, because their claims were assessed prior to March 2012. Access to the Refugee Review Tribunal will ensure a proper process of merits review - as all other cases are; and in line with standard review processes will allow new evidence supporting their claims to be considered and assessed.
Many of them have new information and documentation which would significantly affect their claim for protection. They currently have no statutory merit review options available and no means of presenting new information, documents or other evidence in support of their claims.
A further concern is that some of these people fled Afghanistan up to 17 years ago and no longer have family networks or any sort of life left in the country. Hazaras in Afghanistan are in ongoing fear for their lives, at risk of being killed or conscripted by the Taliban. (http://studentwork.hss.uts.edu.au/oj1/oj1_a2001/refugee/youngboys.html)
HOW YOU CAN HELP
SIGN this petition NOW and invite people in your networks to also sign and forward on - we need as many signatures as possible. Share by email, Facebook and Twitter:
Use your influence on behalf of these people. Please take whatever action you can promptly, as these are matters of urgency for people at imminent risk of deportation.
Contact the Refugee Advocacy Network for a list of sympathetic parliamentarians to contact regarding this issue: http://refugeeadvocacynetwork.org/contact-us/
So who are the Hazara and why are they fleeing Afghanistan?
For over 10 years Afghan refugees have been arriving on our shores and a large number of them have been Hazara. For more information about Hazara asylum seekers see http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/hazara/4165942
How it will be delivered
The petition will be emailed and also sent as paper copy to the Minister on November 28