Australia to deport Afghan asylum seeker

Defence Minister Stephen Smith in Afghanistan. [ABC]
PHOTO

Defence Minister Stephen Smith in Afghanistan. [ABC]

Last Updated: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 11:15:00 +1100

The Australian Government has ordered the first deportation of a failed Afghan asylum seeker from Australia, despite fears he will be killed if he returns home.

This will be the first time an Afghan asylum seeker has been sent home involuntarily under a deal between the Afghan and Australian governments reached earlier this year.

The 26-year-old man has only six days left in Australia. He is currently in maximum security at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney after his asylum claim was rejected.

Documents obtained by Lateline show the Department of Immigration has now ordered his deportation to Kabul, but the man now fears he will be killed if he returns.

"If I go there, I will be dead in my country. I have no-one there to protect me," he said.

"I have no friends, no family there. So how can I live, relocate in Kabul?"

He fled Afghanistan as a teenager in 2001, three years after his father was killed by the Taliban. He tried and failed to gain asylum in Britain and Ireland.

"I told Immigration it's OK if they send me, you can send my dead body to my country because either way I'm dead".

History


He arrived in Australia in February last year on a false Turkish passport.

"I am still in search of a place that I can be safe from. That's all I ask... nothing else, nothing more. That's all".

Human rights activists in Afghanistan say the decision goes against international standards for the protection of refugees.

Afghanistan's Human Rights Commission believes the lives of asylum seekers will be put at risk if they are returned to their homeland.

"They are in danger situation in their own country like Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan is not good enough," spokesman Mohammad Farid Hamidi said.

"The security is getting worse day by day. And many part of the country is not secure part".

Australia, Afghanistan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees signed a memorandum of understanding in January. Australia says the deal allows for deportation.

"This agreement stipulates that the Afghan Government will readmit its nationals who are not entitled to protection in Australia," Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said.

The Afghan Government has refused to comment on this case, but it maintains that the deal does not allow for the deportation of failed asylum seekers from Australia.

This is an extremely sensitive political issue in Afghanistan, especially for members of the ethnic Hazara group.

Hazaras make up the majority of Afghan asylum seekers in Australian detention. Many have fled poverty, insecurity and persecution.

Former militia leader and now Hazara leader Al Haji Mohammad says Hazaras are worried that more asylum seekers will be sent back from Australia.

"Naturally, if it increases, anger will come up, if it increases a lot," he said.

If this first deportation goes ahead, it is expected that dozens more failed Afghan asylum seekers will also be sent back in the months ahead.

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