By JR on Saturday, August 06, 2011
Most of the stuff below is sheer nonsense. The so-called "asylum seekers" are Shia Muslims. If they really needed asylum, there is a whole country run by Shiites -- Iran. And under Muslim rules of hospitality Iran would be obliged to accept them. And Iran is a heck of a lot closer to where they come from. They are voluntary economic migrants, not refugees
IMMIGRATION officials have told single men from the first asylum boat subject to the Gillard government's Malaysia Solution that they will be removed to Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
The men from a boat carrying 55 asylum seekers were moved yesterday morning to the notorious White 1 compound inside the island's main detention centre. The compound was previously reserved for detainees accused of rape, rioting and stirring unrest.
Australian Federal Police plan to deport the men in groups of 15 on an Australian Antarctic Division airbus currently leased by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
The potential removal to Malaysia of a small boy, families and unaccompanied minors from the recently arrived asylum boat is contentious.
The United Nations Children's Fund yesterday said it had "grave reservations" about the deportation of unaccompanied children to Malaysia, calling the plan "inhumane". UNICEF Australia chief Dr Norman Gillespie said the 18 minors who are destined for Malaysia, unless the government grants an exemption, should be allowed to stay in Australia. "To deport these children, who have already been traumatised, to subject them to further trauma, we think is a very extreme action," he said.
Families and children are being held in the Christmas Island centre built by the Howard government after the Tampa crisis in 2001. The Immigration Department does not call it a detention centre any more and it is therefore deemed suitable for children.
Yesterday the department confirmed there were 18 minors on the asylum-seeker boat that arrived on Thursday - not 19 as previously reported. An Immigration Department spokeswoman said one of the asylum seekers who had claimed to be a minor had later told officials he was over 18.
Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen reiterated yesterday that there would be no blanket exemptions for children. "I will not have the situation where we provide a reward for people who put their children on a boat, and undertake that dangerous journey," he said.
Acting Opposition Leader Julie Bishop said the government was caught in a trap. "It either allows unaccompanied children to be taken to Malaysia to an uncertain fate where the Australian government has no control over what happens to them or the government caves in to the people smugglers," she said.
The age of asylum seekers claiming to be unaccompanied minors has been contentious since the surge in boats that began in late 2008. Unaccompanied minors have a high success rate in obtaining a visa - not one has been forcibly removed since the surge in arrivals that began in 2008.
The Immigration Department did not intend to carry out thorough age checks because the entire group of people claiming to be unaccompanied minors was going to be deported anyway, a department spokeswoman told The Daily Telegraph.
Refugee advocates were also concerned yesterday that the group could suffer religious persecution in Malaysia. Most of those in the group, comprising Afghans and Pakistanis, were Shia Muslims and could experience discrimination.