(See report of anti-deportation protest 13 May 05.)
From a RAC-Vic media release:
Protests will take place outside DIMIA offices around Australia tomorrow (Wednesday, 7 September) in support of Vivian Alvarez Solon, the Australian citizen wrongfully deported to the Philippines on July 20, 2001. Protestors will demand a decent compensation deal for Ms Alvarez Solon and an end to forced deportations.
Ms Alvarez Solon remains in Manila because the Australian Government still refuses to take responsibility for the harm its illegal actions have caused. She wants an assurance she will not be a burden on her children if she returns. But so far the Government has refused to guarantee that she will receive compensation beyond six months.
Tim Petterson, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Collective Victoria, said the cases of Ms Alvarez Solon, Cornelia Rau and countless asylum seekers forcibly deported to dangerous countries demonstrate DIMIA officers behave like cowboys when using their extraordinary powers to indefinitely detain and deport.
After the damning Palmer Report, yet more shocking details surrounding Ms Alvarez Solon’s case have emerged. Last month Yole Daniels, assistant secretary of DIMIA’s compliance and analysis branch, revealed to a Senate inquiry that officers knew Ms Alvarez Solon had been wrongfully deported two years before she was found.
Moreover, just last weekend DIMIA ignored UN High Commission for Refugees and UN Human Rights Committee representations and deported a Palestinian asylum seeker who had been in detention for five years. After the man’s legal representatives were alerted and obtained a Federal Court injunction against the deportation the Department was forced to bring him back to Australia from Dubai.
“DIMIA’s motto is clearly: ‘Act first, cover up later’,” Mr Petterson said.
“DIMIA cannot be trusted. No government body can be trusted with the powers of mandatory detention and forced deportation. It was predictable that at some point an Australian citizen would become caught in the net,” he said.
“Fundamental policy change – including the abolition of mandatory detention and the end of forced deportations – is the only way to prevent future abuses.”