Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Double standards from the Immigration Minister

Earlier in the week, the Immigration Minister (or rather, her deputy) refused to exercise her "humanitarian discretion" on behalf of a Sri Lankan girl, and had her forcibly sedated and deported back to her abusers.

Today, she has exercised that discretion to extend the work permits of two and a half thousand Zimbabweans.

That's some difference, neh?

I am not for a moment suggesting that she should be telling the Zimbabweans "outski" on the next plane - they are refugees, and deserve our help; of course we should be letting them stay. But I think that the two decisions reveal an enormous double standard, where the Minister bends over backwards to help refugees who are predominantly white, while mounting vicious attacks on those who are brown (and on anyone who dares represent them too effectively).

Perhaps the Minister should be explaining her reasons for the difference in treatment?