The Australian government is moving to deport a 27 year-old Afghan asylum seeker, Ismail Mirza Jan, from Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in western Sydney to Kabul, Afghanistan.
Mirza Jan is an ethnic Hazara who fled Afghanistan after his father was killed by the Taliban for his imputed association with the political group Hezbe-e-Wahdat. At his mother’s urging, he was assisted by people smugglers to escape Afghanistan and has spent the last 11 years trying to seek safety from any country that will provide him protection and a chance at life.
Arriving in Australia by plane in January 2010, Mirza Jan has been detained at Villawood for the past two years. During his time he has witnessed 3 suicides and the devastation of the riots that took place earlier this year. Now the government is set to forcibly return him to the very country he’s been running from for the past 11 years, deeming that it he faces no credible threat of harm.
He received a notice of removal last Friday and he has since been held in the Stage One (Blaxland), high security section of Villawood detention centre. The deportation is scheduled for Saturday 19 November.
The deportation would be the first forced deportation since the Australian and Afghan governments signed a controversial Memorandum of Understanding in January this year.
“Until now, the Afghan government has ruled out accepting forced deportations. We are hoping that the Afghan government will again rule out forced removals when they understand what the Australian government intends to do.
“This deportation would set a dangerous precedent for the deportation of other Hazara asylum seekers who have come to the end of possible legal process,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
In the first 6 months of 2011, the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose sharply, with a 15% rise in conflict-related civilian deaths compared to the same time in 2010.