Monday October 24, 2011 8:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"One of the largest mass killings of Hazaras from Afghanistan in recent times, when a bomb exploded during a Shia Muslim rally in Quetta took place against the backdrop of a massive Australian "leaky boat warning poster" at Meezan Chowk in Quetta on September 3, 2011," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
Three photos of the atrocity have been posted on our website here (high-resolution images available on request):
The 3 September insurgent attack killed 42 rally participants and injured a further 80 people.
"Most likely phrased in the locally spoken Pashto language, the huge Billboard carries the familiar Immigration Department text, warning people not to come to Australia in "the illegal way" using informal travel brokers, called "people smugglers" in Australia," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
This Billboard evokes the highest level of repulsion one can possibly imagine," Mr Smit said. "On the one hand we are reminded why Hazaras need immediate safety from such targeted killing sprees, on the other hand Australia has its callous egotism on display at these killing events."
In addition to the Billboard, Australia deploys many dozens of compliance officers at international airports around the world. These compliance officers are tasked with preventing anyone from boarding aircraft to Australia if they report doing so to try to enter to lodge an asylum application after arrival."
"Under the Howard government the number of compliance officers around the world was doubled, and the Rudd and Gillard government support this policy. Howard's Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock told me in May this year," Mr Smit said, "that he holds the view that nobody should be allowed to enter Australia by air or by boat to lodge asylum claims, and that he tasked DIAC's Indonesian compliance officers to stop anyone boarding flights into Australia who intended or might lodge asylum claims."
"We also know that at Australian Embassies, immigration applications made by refugees are simply and callously rejected. Australia refuses to respond humanely and flexibly to "uninvited asylum seekers", forcing such asylum claimants to seek informal and alternative travel. In effect, Australia supports and grows the people smuggling industry, and then punishes those who use people smugglers with indefinite mandatory detention, depicting them as the "how-dare-they-come-here" asylum seekers".
"It's time that Australia cleans out its stinking, corrupted and devilish pigsty of condemning uninvited asylum seekers. Mandatory detention needs to go - but also the sewers of callous tasking of international compliance officers and Embassy staff need to be opened up so our nation's stench can be exposed for all to see before being permanently removed."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]