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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Afghan National Tagged for Deportation Amidst Criticisms from Rights Group

By Erik Pineda | November 16, 2011 3:53 PM EST

The Australian government is set to deport an Afghan national, whose application for political asylum has been turned down by immigration authorities, soon, according to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Immigration Ministry.

In a statement, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen identified the Afghan deportee as 27-year-old Ismail Mirza Jan, who according to The Associated Press (AP) left his native country as a teenager at the height of the radical Taliban rule.

In his application for refugee protection, which AP added has been previously rejected in Ireland and the United Kingdom, Jan claimed that his life would be in extreme danger the moment he sets foot anew in Kabul, Afghanistan.

"I told immigration, it's OK ... if you send me, you can send my dead body to my country because either way, I am dead," Jan declared during an interviews with ABC earlier this week in a reaction about the government's decision to forcibly send him home.

Human rights group Edmund Rice Centre scored the latest immigration move to deny refugee status on Jan, who is part of more than 1000 Afghans currently detained in Australian detention facilities, despite the obvious perils that wait him in the war-torn Afghanistan.

As a member of the Hazara ethnic group, Jan, according to Edmund Rice Centre Phil Glendenning, is a natural target for liquidation by armed groups roaming the cities of Afghanistan and killing with near-impunity that only highlights the helplessness of the country's government under the leadership of President Hamid Karzai.

"We have very serious concerns about the safety of Hazaras in Afghanistan," Glendenning was reported by ABC as saying.

He added that by his group's latest findings, 11 Afghans who went home from Australia have been gunned down during the last seven years and a number of these victims, Glendenning noted were part of the Hazaras that Jan call as his ethnic group.

Bowen, however, remains adamant of his office's decision and insisted that Jan's safety has been assured by Karzai's government, which assured Canberra that voluntary returning Afghans do not face persecution in the country.

"It's a fundamental part of our immigration system that if people are found not to be genuine refugees, that they should be removed," Bowen was reported by AP as saying in justifying the government decision, scored by advocacy group Refugee Action Coalition as a chilling prospect for all refugee applicants seeking protection inside Australia.

"Jan's deportation sets a dangerous precedent and we're hoping that Afghanistan won't accept him," Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul told AP in expounding on the likely repercussions of the controversial government decision.

Supporting the group's stance is an assessment provided by Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commissioner Mohammad Farid Hamidi, who called on Canberra to reconsiders its action on the Jan case.

"The situation in Afghanistan is not good enough ... and the security (situation) is getting worse day by day," Hamidi told ABC.

To contact the editor, e-mail: editor@ibtimes.com

International Business Time

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