Tuesday, February 7, 5.30pm. Bourke Street Mall (corner of Swanston Street), Melbourne.
The Australian government is currently attempting to deport Afghan Hazara asylum seeker, Ismail Mirza Jan, to Afghanistan. Never before has an Afghan national been forcibly removed from Australia to Afghanistan.
This would be a new low in Australia’s refugee policy, with the Labor Government sinking even further than the Howard Government in pursuing deportations to danger. Even high-ranking ministers in the Western-backed Afghan government have questioned Australia’s right to forcibly repatriate Afghan asylum seekers from Australia. If Ismail is deported, this will open the way for the deportation of scores of Afghan, and potentially other, asylum seekers – back to war torn countries, impending danger, or even a death sentence. Two Tamil asylum seekers, Emil and Vithuran, too were only saved from deportation by last minute legal action in December.
Recently Ismail received a temporary reprieve when the Federal Magistrates Court questioned whether he received “procedural fairness” by the Australian government in their attempts to deport him. Ismail’s deportation case will come back to the High Court on February 8. The refugee rights movement, and all those who oppose this move to forced deportations, have a short window of opportunity to build a broad campaign against the forced deportation of Ismail, and the terrible precedent it would provide for further deportations.