March 14, 2013
An open letter directed to Minister O’ Connor requesting him to reconsider his decision in the light deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the request of 30 Afghan supporting these reports.
Kindly please read the letter, swap the signature with yours, write your address and send to Minister for Immigration Mr O’ Connor.
Minister O’ Connor’s email address: Brendan.O’Connor.MP@aph.gov.au
Dear Minister O’Connor,
I understand that a large number of Hazara asylum seekers are under threat of deportation to Afghanistan. It is well documented that Hazara people are at constant risk of persecution and targeted killings in Afghanistan, and also in Pakistan, where there have been mass killings of Hazara people in recent months.
Advocates are gravely concerned for the welfare of these people who fled from Afghanistan in fear of their lives, very often after losing members of their families to the systematic violence to which Hazara people are subjected. As you know, this week 30 Afghan MPs have written to the Australian Government urging the abandonment of plans to return asylum seekers to Kabul, because the security situation in the Afghanistan is getting worse and attackers are targeting members of the Hazara ethnic group.
I urge you to intervene on behalf of these people by extending their Bridging Visas and ensuring a thorough review of their claims for asylum.
Given the ongoing instability in Afghanistan, it is inevitable that these people would be in danger if they are deported. There are too many documented cases of asylum seekers being returned to Afghanistan, and subsequently being killed or tortured.
A key objective of the Refugee Convention is to provide protection for people whose lives are at risk, and I feel strongly, as do very many other Australians that it is the duty of our federal Government to ensure justice for people seeking asylum and to ensure their safety.
I am very concerned that these threatened deportations are in part motivated by your desire to be ‘tough on asylum seekers’ and are aimed at creating fear within these communities in the hope of deterring others from coming to Australia to seek asylum and protection. The current focus on deterrence denies the right of people to seek asylum, violates human rights and sadly, fosters fear and prejudice within the Australian community.
It is time for the Labor government to reset the policy approach to asylum seekers based on generosity and decency. This will ensure that asylum seekers are treated fairly and with compassion, and will also encourage our Australian communities to welcome and embrace those who seek our protection.
I am asking that you intervene immediately to stop the deportation of Hazara asylum seekers and make sure that their claims are assessed fully and fairly.