Friday, November 17, 2006

High Court plays to Government`s tune on refugee rights

The Age reports "The High Court has overturned a lower court decision requiring the Government to prove a country is safe before deporting an asylum seeker there.

The court upheld a decision by the Immigration Department to refuse permanent protection visas for two Afghan men, who sought to stay on the grounds that the Taliban was unlikely to re-establish itself after being ousted by the US in 2001.

The two men, Shiite Muslims of Hazara ethnicity, were granted temporary protection visas in 1999.

Their claim for permanent protection was rejected by the Refugee Review Tribunal. Last year one of the men won an appeal in the full court of the Federal Court questioning the legal basis of the department's ruling that Afghanistan was safe.

The decision put the onus on Government to prove that a country is not dangerous before deporting a previous TPV holder.

The High Court win by Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone means the department's policy decisions on whether a country is safe are binding."

As we know from the work of the Edmund Rice Centre (see Deported to Danger II) and an earlier book by David Corlett (Following Them Home), refugees have been put in harm's way regularly by the Howard Government, through a negligent disdain for duty of care principles that beggars belief. The High Court has just made it easier for these travesties of natural justice to continue.

No comments: