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Monday, April 4, 2011

Afghan MP lashes Labor
Lanai Vasek | The Australian | April 05, 2011




leader of the Unity Party of Afghanistan, Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq
A LEADING Afghan MP has blamed the Labor government’s immigration policies for self-harm and mental health problems among detainees.
As leader of the Unity Party of Afghanistan, Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq is on his first visit to Australia and will this week meet Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to discuss a “more humanitarian” approach to the processing of ethnic Hazara Afghan refugees.
Speaking to The Australian yesterday, Mr Mohaqiq attacked Labor’s plan for a regional processing centre in East Timor, saying it would not stem the flow of asylum-seekers.
“I am against people-smuggling and trafficking and people entering illegally into another country, but those who make it here do so because they fear for their lives,” he said.
“Once refugees from Afghanistan reach this region, they have already endured a lot of dangers, so if the Australian government wants to provide a facility for processing overseas they are best to establish it in the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, like Pakistan, Iran or even India.”
Mr Mohaqiq said the memorandum of understanding between Afghanistan and Australia to return failed asylum-seekers had created despair in the refugee population. “I believe that MOU was drawn up without taking the reality of the situation in Afghanistan into full account,” he said.
Mr Mohaqiq said last year’s freeze on the processing of Afghan asylum applications was a mistake.
“Leaving people in the dark will affect them psychologically, and I believe that caused these major mental issues and problems,” he said.
“That’s why I came at this sensitive stage to put a friendly request to your government to process these people in a more humanitarian way.”
Australia’s detention centres are overcrowded, which has led to tensions and unrest. At least five detainees have committed suicide in less than a year.

Source,

http://www.wahdatnews.com/?p=361

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