Sunday, October 01, 2006

Last man standing

Mohammed Sagar outside his cabin in Nauru.

The Age reports on the Australian Government's verdict on an asylum seeker held on Nauru
: "On August 19 last year two Iraqi asylum seekers on Nauru were informed by letter that they had been "assessed by the relevant Australian authority to be a risk to Australia's national security".

Therefore, they were told, they were not owed protection under the United Nation's refugee convention.

Unlike criminals, these two were given no inkling of the basis of the case against them, and no opportunity to answer it. Was it something they had said, done, represented or thought before, or even after, they fled Saddam Hussein's dictatorship? Or was it something ASIO thought they had said, done, represented or thought?

The punchline to the letter might have won points for black humour if the consequences had been less serious. "When you choose to depart Nauru, the [International Organisation for Migration] will assist with your voluntary repatriation," it said.

It overlooked one critical detail: it had already been established that the men's fear of persecution if they returned to Iraq was genuine. So where was it suggested they might go? Paris? New York? London?"

Oh yes...the Howard show marches on!

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