|Monday, 25 August 2003||NSWCCL media release: 18/2003|
NSWCCL, Amnesty International and representatives from almost 30 church, legal and refugee organisations today sent a letter to Prime Minister calling for nine women and 14 children currently detained on Nauru to be reunited with their husbands and fathers in Australia.
The women and children from Iraq and Afghanistan have been detained on Nauru since the 'Tampa incident' two years ago tomorrow. They are among the 402 asylum seekers, including 108 children still detained on the island. NSWCCL President Mr Cameron Murphy today said:--
"This is an important issue, it is about reuniting families an upholding our international obligations."
A copy of the letter is attached below. Background information on the Tampa incident is available at http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/ref-fact07.html
For further information contact:
Cameron Murphy, President NSWCCL, 0411 769 769
Gary Highland, Amnesty International, 02 9217 7620 or 0422 869 43
Two Long Years
Mr Howard, Please Reunite Tampa Refugee Families
The Hon. John Howard
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Dear Prime Minister
On the second anniversary of the 'Tampa incident', we the undersigned call on the Australian Government to reunite the nine women and their 14 children who are in immigration detention on Nauru with their husbands and fathers in Australia. These men are on Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) and we request that the Government permit the women and children to reside in Australia under the same visa conditions.
These women and children should have been accepted as refugees because of the status of their husbands and fathers. As Australia does not recognise 'derivative refugee status' under TPV legislation, their claims have been denied and they have been held in detention on Nauru for 2 years now. Coming from Iraq and Afghanistan they now face either indefinite detention or the possibility of returning to a dangerous and uncertain future.
Family unity is recognised as a principle of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law. The family is acknowledged universally to be a fundamental unit of society. Significantly, the Convention on the Rights of the Child requires that family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner. What can be regarded as more important and compelling than guaranteeing a child the right to live freely with both his or her parents in a secure environment?
We believe that the Australian Government's denial of the possibility of family reunion under TPV legislation does not give effect to Australia's international obligations and we once again call on the Australian Government to reunite these families.
Katrin Robinson, Acting National President
Amnesty International Australia
Howard Glenn, National Director
A Just Australia
Asylum Seekers Centre
The Australian National Committee on Refugee Women
Kevin Liston, Director
Australian Refugee Association
Joe Collins, Secretary
Australia West Papua Association
Fr. Frank Brennan SJ AO
Julian Burnside QC
Marc Purcell, Executive Officer
Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and Peace
ChilOut (Children Out of Detention)
Ethnic Communities' Council of NSW
Hassan Ghulam, President
Hazara Ethnic Society in Australia Inc.
Human Rights Council of Australia
International Commission of Jurists
Gillian Deakin, President, New South Wales
Medical Association for the Prevention of War
Melbourne Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office
Mercy Refugee Service
Missionary Sisters of Service
James D Thomson
National Education and Advocacy Officer,
National Program on Refugees and Displaced People
Christian World Service
National Council of Churches in Australia
Cameron Murphy, President
NSW Council for Civil Liberties Inc.
Dr Mohammed Alsalami, Chairman
Organisation of Human Rights in Iraq
Public Interest Advocacy Service
Refugee Council of Australia
Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre Inc.
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney
Springvale Community Aid and Advice Bureau
Uniting Church in Australia
Patty Fawkner, Director
Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre
Jane Brock, President, New South Wales
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
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