REFUGEE ACTIVISTS ACTION TO PREVENT DEPORTATION FROM VILLAWOOD
Refugee activists have gathered outside Villawood Detention Centre to try and prevent the deportation of a 60 year-old Iraqi man, ‘Saeed’, who came to Australia in 2012.
Saeed, from a religious minority in Iraq, faces persecution if he is forced to return there. His brother, who arrived on the same boat as him, made a successful asylum claim, but Saeed was refused on an administrative technicality. He has spent four years in detention, and is believed to be being deported to Iraq this afternoon.
The action follows Saeed’s transfer to Villawood from the Melbourne Immigration Transfer Accommodation Centre, which activists tried to blockade yesterday.
“Saeed is still weak from his recent hunger strike,” said Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson Ian Rintoul. “It is callous in the extreme of Peter Dutton to try to deport him back to danger”.
“The same experiences in Iraq led Saeed and his brother to escape together,” Rintoul continued. “While in Australia, he has been systematically prevented from exercising the rights he has as an asylum seeker. The fact he is being deported on a technicality when his brother has been recognised as a refugee is yet another example of Dutton’s contempt for life and safety.”
“Dutton and the government are trying to turn Australia into a post-rights country for refugees. It’s unacceptable that Saeed is being deported at all; that Dutton’s deporting him in his current state is even worse. We’re gathering at Villawood to say that refugees should be allowed to stay in Australia, and to do everything we can to make sure Saeed isn’t deported.”
More information: James Supple, Refugee Action Coalition 0438 718 348
When: From 21st at 6:30pm – 22nd at 9am
Where: Broadmeadows Detention Centre, 120-150 Camp Rd, Broadmeadows
Facebook event here
“Saeed” (not his real name) a middle aged stateless man faces deportation to Iraq on Wed March 22, even though he is not an Iraqi citizen. He fears for his life, and says he will likely be arrested on return. He has been on hunger strike for sixteen days, and was fed through a tube recently without his consent in a Melbourne hospital.
Saeed came to Australia with his brother on the same boat. His brother had an almost identical claim for refugee status. His brother’s refugee claim has been accepted, but Saeed’s was denied. They are from a religious minority and the local head of their ethnic group was murdered in a suicide attack two years ago. Saeed has been told by the Federal Court that the merit of his appeal cannot be heard, because he took too long to put it in. Saeed does not speak English and was never told that he had the right to appeal his original flawed refugee determination decision.
Saeed says “my family would be in great danger as well as myself if I am returned, please don’t deport me, I am a human being too”.
The Iraqi ambassador has said that Iraq will not accept forced returns, but Australia may concoct travel documents for Saeed that expire on arrival as has been the case for previous Iraq deportations.
Iraq is currently a war zone, travel advice from the Australian government regarding Iraq says “We strongly advise you not to travel to Iraq because of the extremely volatile and dangerous security situation”. Sectarian killings are on the rise in Iraq – on 16 Feb, 48 people were killed by a car bomb in Baghdad. A deported non-citizen faces grave dangers. Saeed’s life and the lives of his family are in Immigration Minister Dutton’s hands. RAC is calling on him not to deport Saeed to danger.
There will be a protest vigil against Saeed’s deportation from 6.30pm Tuesday March 21 at the Broadmeadows Detention Centre (MITA) 150 Camp Rd Broadmeadows, and a protest at the same location from 6am on Wed March 22. Vigil speakers include Tamil Refugee and FSU organiser Aran Mylvaganam and refugee advocates Pamela Curr and Heba Bendak
For further information call Chris Breen for the Refugee Action Collective on 0403 013 183