Rally for refugees


ADELAIDE — On February 12, several hundred refugee supporters rallied outside the electorate office of federal immigration minister Amanda Vanstone to protest the wrongful detention of Australian resident Cornelia Rau.

The rally heard speakers from the Greens, the Democrats, Justice for Refugees, a human rights lawyer and Amnesty International. There were also supportive statements read out from detainees in Baxter and the ALP.

Many of the speakers emphasised the connection between detention and psychological breakdown and called for an independent, transparent inquiry.

Speakers condemned the government-initiated private inquiry headed by Mick Palmer as inadequate and a probable whitewash, noting that Palmer was federal police commissioner when Vanstone was justice minister. Many called on Vanstone to resign.

The most moving contribution was a statement from the detainees in Baxter about Rau's treatment.

Sandy Whelan

From Green Left Weekly, February 23, 2005.
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