Why are people like Alaghun locked up indefinitely? And what can you do?
Alughun is entering his 6th year of detention in Villawood – having committed no crime, without being charged, and without any prospects of release. He is one of 40 asylum seekers who have had an adverse security assessment – which is a confidential assessment of what these young people MIGHT do if released. These assessments by ASIO are kept secret, and the basis of the adverse findings is never disclosed to the asylum seeker, their lawyers or anyone else. These people have begged to be allowed to move into community detention – they have offered to check in with police daily, or even wear security bracelets.
Many Australians also have adverse security assessments, but are not in detention, because these assessments are not criminal charges-they are just subjective assessments.
Last year, a High Court case found that the regulation that provided for this indefinite detention of asylum seekers was unlawful, and therefore, the Government moved a Bill in May 2014 to “fix’ that problem. The bill allows for people to be locked up forever, and ensures that they will never ever be granted a permanent protection visa in Australia.
In August 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that the detainees were being illegally held, without proof or judicial protection, in cruel, inhuman or degrading circumstances. It set a deadline of 18th February 2014 for the detainees’ release into Australia, on security conditions as appropriate. However, the Australian Government summarily ignored this deadline.
What can you do?
Alaghun’s illustration of his predicament. See the complete drawing.
Hansard, News and Academic Articles
Download an archive of articles here.
Tell Me About: Refugees with Adverse Security Assessments
From the Australian Human Right Commission, a detailed fact sheet on adverse security assessments: tell-me-about-refugees-adverse-security
Fair Shake of the Sauce Bottle
Reform Options for Making ASIO Security Assessments of Refugees Fairer, by Ben Saul, University of Sydney – Faculty of Law
ASIO Security Assessments and Eligibility for a Protection Visa
From the Human Rights Law Centre, a submission on the Migration Amendment Bill 2013.