The push to clear a 2000 strong backlog of requests for ministerial intervention in asylum seeker cases means refugee support groups are being flooded with human tragedies. Yesterday we ran a letter from Asylum Seeker Resource Centre detailing some of the trauma.

Below is a sample of some of the cases from the ASRC that Minister Chris Evans has recently rejected. The ASRC admits not all the cases in which his intervention has been requested are strong. But, they say, these are.

  • A single young woman from Ethiopia who was trafficked, enslaved by her employer and subjected to horrific abuse;
  • An elderly couple from East Timor. Eight of their nine children are in Australia, and 6 of them are permanent residents. The couple fled violence and would be destitute upon return to Timor. The Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) flagged humanitarian considerations in this case as being appropriate for the Minister to consider;
  • A family from a persecuted ethnic minority in the Ukraine whose 6 year old daughter was born in Australia. A suicide risk was flagged for the father. On Wednesday, after being told of his recent Ministerial refusal, he attempted suicide at the Asylum Seekers’ Resource Centre in front of his son.
  • A young Kurdish man from Turkey who was detained and tortured in his home country. There is a real risk that he will be tortured upon return;
  • A young man from China who was a member of an underground Christian church. There is a warrant for his arrest for his religious beliefs and he faces detention and torture upon return;
  • A man from Sri Lanka who has been married to an Australian citizen for two years. He cannot return home to apply for a spouse visa because there is a warrant for his arrest as a result of his political membership;
  • A woman from Sri Lanka whose nine siblings are all Australian citizens. Her daughter is a permanent resident of Australia. There are no members of her or her husband’s family remaining in her country country;
  • A man of Tamil ethnicity from Sri Lanka who has been in Australia for 12 years and is the sole carer for his 91 year old mother. The mother is in the queue for an Aged Parent visa in Australia;
  • A Sri Lankan father who has been in Australia for 10 years and whose immediate family, including his mother and three out of four siblings, are Australian citizens or residents. His wife’s two brothers and parents were killed during the tsunami;
  • A 63 year – old East Timorese woman with a large extended family in Australia including her sister, two children and grandchildren. Due to the violence in her country she has not been able to locate her remaining family in East Timor.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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