Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New visa needed for those at risk

The Australian reports " a SENATE committee reviewing immigration laws has recommended introducing a "complementary protection" visa to asylum-seekers who have not qualified for refugee status but may still face dangers in their country of origin.

The review of the Migration Act recommends the abolition of isolation cells, and says the "self-protective" approach of immigration officers reflected the tougher policy stance of the Coalition Government.

The 500-page report by the Senate's legal and constitutional references committee claims substantial taxpayer savings could be achieved by offering the new class of visa to people facing human rights violations if they were deported.

Those eligible would include people who have no nationality or right of residence and those from conflict-riven countries where human rights abuses are widespread.

The visa would bring Australia in line with Canada, the US and members of the European Union, which have all adopted complementary protection."

This is a positive development in the current situation where asylum seekers are invariably subjected to a callous regime of psychological and physical abuse. However, much more reform is needed to clean up the system in line with international law and conventions.

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