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Offshore refugee system in chaos

12 November 2010 02:03 am - 15     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Australian Federal Government could be forced to abandon offshore processing following a High Court ruling declaring that the Government had been treating asylum seekers unfairly and illegally.

The entire refugee processing system is now in chaos after the court ruled the Government could no longer hold people on Christmas Island outside the protection of normal Australian law.

 

In finding in favour of two Tamil men who challenged the Government's decision to deport them to Sri Lanka, the court ruled they had been denied "procedural fairness".
 

Lawyers for the two men last night said they had an unspecified number of clients now willing to take court action, and claimed that he 5200 asylum seekers now in detention would also be protected by yesterday's decision.
 

The Federal Government might also be liable for costs. "What this is saying is that the Government's attempts to decide people's claims outside the protection of the courts has failed," said Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre director David Manne, who brought the court action.
 

"These decisions were unfair and unlawful by not applying ordinary Australian law to life and death situations." Immigration Minister Chris Bowen conceded the ruling meant that people who arrive by boat must now be treated in the same way as others.
 

Under the offshore processing system, boat arrivals were treated outside the normal court system, unlike those who arrived by plane. Mr Bowen last night was seeking urgent legal advice from the Solicitor-General.
 

"It's important that we recognize that this is a significant judgment," Mr Bowen said.
 

"It has significant ramifications. It needs to be worked through in a methodical and calm manner, which is what I'll be doing in coming weeks and making recommendations to my Cabinet colleagues."
 

The two Tamil asylum seekers, known only as M61 and M69, were among 89 people flown from Christmas Island to the Villawood detention centre in Sydney in 2009.
 

They claimed they would be in danger from the Sri Lankan army if returned because of their support for the separatist Tamil Tigers group.
 

Mr Bowen warned that the decision could mean asylum seekers were detained for longer if they elected to appeal through the court system.
 

He said the decision was a result of the Howard government's policy of offshore processing in 2001, while the Opposition claimed it was a "mess entirely of the Government's own making" from 2008 rule changes. (The Daily Telegraph)

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  Comments - 15

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  • tamilian Friday, 12 November 2010 04:06 AM

    Here we go, that's the way to show the power of law...........teach SL gov a lesson

    Ruhunu Puthra Friday, 12 November 2010 04:26 AM

    This shows the independance of the Australian Judicial system.

    pasel Friday, 12 November 2010 04:42 AM

    This is AU internal problem don't get involve

    MagodisThuma Friday, 12 November 2010 11:59 AM

    English invaded Australia in 1778. We are little bit late. We don't intend to kill Aborigines, the real owners of the land....SO WHAT.....?.

    vat hora Friday, 12 November 2010 12:15 PM

    hooray come on australia, way to go.

    Dutugemunu Friday, 12 November 2010 05:48 AM

    Sri Lanka would have been a better country if the British had still ruled with 50% of our classy educated politicians.

    ampare son Saturday, 13 November 2010 12:03 AM

    australian legal immigration law very tough. at least someone can go thisway.

    vat hora Saturday, 13 November 2010 12:06 AM

    we dont have good education go to australia. only way boat

    Haramanis Friday, 12 November 2010 01:15 PM

    Australia Calling................

    Dee Friday, 12 November 2010 07:22 AM

    Ah, good time to start a "economic refugee" boat service.

    PD Friday, 12 November 2010 01:59 PM

    Who are the Real Owners (the idegenous People) of the North and the East of SL?

    MagodisThuma Friday, 12 November 2010 03:19 PM

    Vaddas of course !

    Fair n Square Friday, 12 November 2010 02:59 AM

    C'mon boys, ship them out of SL , we need the foreign exchange to develop the country and also bring down the unemployment figures. So they will stop advertising about how risky it is to travel by boats? If the government cannot provide with decent jobs, let them go make a better future and not deprive of some who are capable of a better life. They will anyway send expenses to the family or kith n kin.

    Nation without borders is what I stand for. ( a world citizen )

    anura Friday, 12 November 2010 03:18 AM

    i am not suprised by this because australian govt know about this , this is slap on the face of Sl govt

    kanniah Friday, 12 November 2010 03:40 AM

    Two illegal immigrants appealed against the government decision and got the judgment in favor of them. What a respect for the human rights and justice! Would it happen in Sri Lanka?


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