Refugee supporters urge Barnaby Joyce to release Syrian accountant from Villawood

Refugee Action Coalition





The Refugee Action Coalition has welcomed Deputy Prime Minister

Barnaby Joyce’s call for Australia to resettle more Syrian refugees.


The Deputy Prime 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



“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.


“Notwithstanding Barnaby 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