MEDIA RELEASE: 7th July, 2010: Statement on asylum seekers

MEDIA RELEASE

7th July, 2010

Statement on asylum seekers

The National Executive of the Australian Democrats has voted to strongly oppose the offshore processing and demonising of asylum seekers and calls on the Gillard Labor Government to:

· Acknowledge that seeking asylum from violence, war, famine, torture and persecution is legal under international law;

· Stand up against the misinformation that the Abbott Liberal opposition is peddling about asylum seekers and not to bow to political pressure to reverse the ALP’s commitment to our human rights obligations;

· Ensure that Australia lives up to its obligations under United Nations Conventions on Human Rights and Refugees;

· Provide an assurance that no asylum seeker will be sent back to an environment that will endanger their lives or result in persecution, torture or other harm;

· Ensure that the process of assessing claims for asylum is open to public scrutiny, including temporary detention of asylum seekers on the mainland for health and security assessment purposes and opening up the detention centres to NGO scrutiny and monitoring of the standards of living and compliance with human rights;

· Ensure the efficient and expedient processing of claims and limiting of detention to a short period whilst health and security assessments are made. Once it is determined that there is no health or security risk, move asylum seekers to community based accommodation whilst their claim is finalised providing financial and case work assistance until an outcome has be reached;

· Ensure a transparent appeals mechanism to ensure procedural fairness to those asylum seekers appealing against the refusal of their claim for refugee status;

· Ensure that those who are found to be legitimate refugees are given adequate financial and resettlement support including but not limited to Medicare and Centrelink benefits, Job seeker assistance and Education and Training support.

Further comment: National President, Julia Melland ph. 0431357585 or Australian Democrats Human Rights Spokesperson, Sandra Kanck, ph 08 8336 4114 or 0417 882 143

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