EGZ17 must not be sent back to Afghanistan

Remember the pseudonym EGZ17.

EGZ17 is the pseudonym of an ethnic Hazara Shia man, whom the Government, specifically Alex Hawke, wants to be able to send back to the Republic of Afghanistan. A decision that he could safely be returned to Kabul was made in 2017 by the Immigration Assessment Authority, before the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan. The Government set about to deport him. After that takeover, he appealed the decision on the grounds that the newly named Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was in effect a new country, and that the decision to deport EGZ17 was legally unreasonable. A judge of the Federal Court agreed.

Alex Hawke, the Minister for Immigration, successfully appealed that decision before a full bench of the Federal Court. That decision is likely to be appealed to the High Court.

It is not entirely clear what Mr Hawke is up to — it may be that he merely wishes to establish that a change of government and change of name does not in itself invalidate a (supposedly) properly made decision.

But there is little doubt that if EGZ17 is sent back to Afghanistan now, he is very likely to be killed. In spite of the asseverations of the leading members of the Taliban that they do not any longer wish to have Shia or Hazaras killed, a number have been. And others have been turned out of their homes in the severe Afghan winter and left to freeze to death or starve.

Whatever the outcome of the court case and of any appeal to the High Court, EGZ17 must not be sent back to Afghanistan.

More information: Government plans to send Hazara asylum seeker back to Afghanistan may face high court challenge The Guardian 13 Feb 2022