Thursday July 8, 2010 10:15am WST
For Immediate Release
"The Minister for Immigration, Senator Chris Evans, should stop falling for the spin trap of new language, where he is resorting to language he has never used to back up Julia Gillard's East Timor Solution resolve," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
During radio and television interviews, Chris Evans' language is suddenly littered with the term "secondary movement", which refers to the journey by refugees away from a country where they are safe to another country to seek protection.
"A refugee is not home until a protection claim has been recognised and the claimant has been granted protection by a country that has signed the UN Refugee Convention. Chris Evans knows this, and he also knows that between for example Afghanistan and Australia, there are just two countries where that "home" can be found in Convention terms: Cambodia and East Timor," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"It appears that Chris Evans has left his station of integrity and is now introducing spin and manipulation in an attempt to load blame on people attempting to reach Australia by boat - by repeated allusions to farcical notions that those in Indonesia and Malaysia are "guilty" of being involved in 'secondary movements'."
"Chris Evans would be well aware that UNHCR issued a bulletin a few days before Australia's 2001 Election - the Tampa Election - where the refugee organisation stated without any ambiguity, that "refugees do not have to come directly". On all accounts it appears UNHCR had John Howard and his punishment of 'unauthorised arrivals' in mind, when it issued that Bulletin."
The phrase used by UNHCR: "Refugees are not required to have come directly from territories where their life or freedom was threatened."
"It is regrettable that Chris Evans, who has his own mind, a great deal of integrity and compassion, and a good knowledge of the Convention, now resorts to spin to justify Julia Gillard's East Timor solution. He should perform much better than that, because he is much better than that."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]