On October 2, the Sydney-based Edmund Rice Centre (ERC) released its Deported to Danger II report, examining the fate of people whose claims for asylum in Australia were rejected. The report found that 39 of the 41 were deported to danger. Two have been welcomed in New Zealand.
"In 2006, we interviewed 41 asylum seekers, 36 for the first time and five for the second time ... So far we have made contact with over 200 people from 20 countries", ERC director Phil Glendenning said when releasing the report. "The vast majority are living in danger. Some have been killed", said Glendenning.
The report, prepared in collaboration with the School of Education at the Australian Catholic University, gives a full account of findings released in August 2006 to ABC TV's Lateline program, which revealed that a number of those deported to Afghanistan had since been killed or had members of their families killed.
"We believe the experiences of these men provide strong evidence that their claims were rejected based on flawed assessments", Glendenning said. "Factors contributing to such flawed assessments include lack of relevant and sometimes crucial knowledge of the complex historical, social, cultural realities of an asylum seeker's homeland."
Glendenning added: "Pressures and inducements used to persuade these to men to accept removal indicate that the term 'voluntary' is unjustified. Detention in Nauru places people beyond the democratic safeguards of Australian law ... It imposes sub-standard living conditions and subjects people to demeaning treatment on deportation flights.
"Fundamental reform is needed if we are to honour human rights obligations and the values they enshrine. Those who are in danger have compelling cases for their claims to be reassessed."
The full report is available at <http://www.erc.org.au>.