Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Australia returns refugees to persecution

In 2015 Tran Thi Lua fled Vietnam to avoid persecution over a land dispute. The Australian Navy intercepted the boat she was on, denied her asylum, and forcibly returned her to Vietnam. Where, of course, she was detained and beaten:

A Vietnamese asylum seeker has said she faced three months of detention and beatings after being returned by Australian immigration officials.

Tran Thi Lua fled a second time, trying to reach Australia this month, but her boat broke down off the Indonesian coast.

Now she is stranded in Indonesia with her three children and two other Vietnamese families, hoping for an interview with the United Nations refugee agency this week.

The other two mothers on the recent boat trip were also returned by Australia in 2015 and faced punishment from the communist Vietnamese Government.

At the least, this shows that she had a well-founded fear of persecution, and should have been granted refugee status. And it shows that Australia broke its own laws by refouling her to persecution. But clearly, Australia no longer cares about its obligations under the Refugee Convention.

(And remember: Don't Buy Australian until Australia revokes its anti-refugee policies and frees everyone on Nauru and Manus Island)