May 18, 2012
Latest victims of ASIO free reign are 6 and 8 yr old boys.
The latest victims of Australia's security system are two boys aged 6 and 8, their mother Ranjini and new step-father Ganesh. Ranjini and her sons arrived to Christmas Island by boat in 2010 and spent almost two years shuffled from one detention facility to another. Christmas Island, Leonora, Inverbrackie and then on to community detention in Brisbane. Ranjini, from Sri Lanka was widowed in 2006 and has been found by Australia to be a refugee in need of protection.
This is National Families Week in Australia. Families Australia describes the role of a family as "vital".
Last month, known to DIAC, Ranjini married Melbourne man, Ganesh and moved there with her sons. Not long into their first term at their new school the boys have been taken out of their home, away from their step-father and detained with their mum at Sydney's Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. The boys and Ranjini join at least 2 other families, and 4 other children in the Residential Housing Project there (still most definitely detention no matter what name the facility is given) - all of whom face a lifetime of immigration detention.
ASIO made an adverse security finding against Ranjini which leaves her and her boys with no visa status and no way out of their predicament. Like 46 other refugees in Australia's immigration detention facilities, Ranjini cannot challenge the findings made against her, neither she nor her lawyers can even know what the claims against her relate to. Like other children at VIDC, this means indefinite detention for Ranjini's young sons.
The 'solution' according to our Government is to lock up these people, including children, for the rest of their lives. They are refugees, they cannot be returned to their country of origin, they have an adverse security finding - Australia has effectively blacklisted them, what other country will take them? Other nations have methods of oversight for their peak security agencies. There are random audits of decisions affecting refugees, there are independent monitors who can view decisions. In Australia there is nothing. Ranjini, Ganesh and her sons are left not knowing what they are being punished for and realising that their punishment is for life. Perhaps literally for life.
As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as a nation that celebrates something called National Families Week - how can Australians stand for the indefinite of a child as being a 'solution' to anything?
Perhaps there are issues of national security, but perhaps there are not. Agencies have been known to get things wrong, including ASIO; remember the case of Dr Haneef? Shouldn't the basic principle of innocent until proven guilty stand? Courts can manage sensitive information, lawyers can adhere to court guidance, there has to be a reasonable way for Ranjini and the 46 others in her position to have access to a fair trial and to natural justice. Surely there are degrees of 'adverse' findings? Not every adverse finding indicates someone is a terrorist. Surely arrangements around living in the community and reporting to authorities can be reached in some cases?
Sophie Peer, Campaign Director, ChilOut
SMH piece from 16 May 2012 'the person may have had a cousin involved in some minor thing. An adverse assesment from ASIO doesn't make someone a terrorist'.
Piece on Ranjini, The Age 14 May 2012
Here's the NSW Council for Civil Liberties and Liberty Victoria open letter to Federal Attorney General, Nicola Roxon from 18 Jan 2012 on this topic.