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RETURNING REFUGEES January 19, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, CENTRAL ASIA, Peace.
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So it seems we have a government of courage, much like the lion in The Wizard of Oz. Perhaps they see themselves as political pragmatists – whatever it takes.

The uncharitable may see them as unconscionable. They, so it seems, have at heart such a fear of the political wedge, and such an inability to stand for principle in the face of febrile political attack. Imagine the presumption to claim to have negotiated a arrangement to send people back to Afghanistan with the Mayor of Kabul (and that may be in dispute as is the nature of puppet governments)?

Tom Morgan in The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

Failed Afghan asylum seekers will be sent straight back to the conflict-torn nation under a landmark immigration deal announced by the Australian government.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen hailed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Afghanistan’s government as a major breakthrough in tightening the country’s borders against people smugglers and non-refugees.

But he insisted those genuinely in fear of the Taliban or facing other troubles in Afghanistan would not be affected.

About 4300 Afghans have arrived in Australia claiming asylum since 2008, with half of all arrivals by boat heralding from the troubled country, Mr Bowen told reporters on Monday.

“This is the most comprehensive agreement on these matters that has ever been entered into between Australian and Afghanistan,” he said.

Under the agreement, Afghans declared genuine refugees will be allowed to stay but those who fail to meet the criteria can be automatically deported.

About 50 Afghans in Australia are currently in limbo after failing the initial immigration process, but they may yet seek a judicial review, Mr Bowen said.

“We’re not going to see returns tomorrow, we’re not going to see returns the day after tomorrow,” he added.

“The important point is there is now a mechanism to return people and people will be returned.”

The opposition cautiously welcomed the announcement but said its success would be determined by how many failed asylum seekers are forced to leave.

“The coalition has been consistently calling for the government to implement a returns policy and we acknowledge that, on paper, this is now in place,” opposition immigration and citizenship spokesman Scott Morrison said.

The Minister in his wisdom overlooks the unpleasant fact that people might have more to fear than the Taliban. They might be subject to drone attacks, aerial bombing and the other species of murder. In the absence of negotiation and a determination for peace and justice without further violence there is little prospect for Afghanistan and the likelihood of sometimes forlorn attempts at flight which decent people who look upon with compassion.

ELSEWHERE:

As the asymmetrical war violence ramps up so do death, suffering and injuries to civilians. Laura King reports for The Los Angeles Times (via Truthdig):

Roadside bombs killed at least 17 Afghan civilians in a 24-hour span, including nine people — a child among them — whose vehicle was torn apart by a powerful blast Sunday as they were on their way to a wedding in northern Afghanistan.

Civilians are dying in record numbers as the war in Afghanistan grinds into its 10th year, and crude but powerful homemade bombs are the greatest hazard facing them. Insurgents plant the devices with the aim of killing Western troops, but more often it is noncombatants who are left dead or maimed.

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