VOICE Australia calls on the Australian government to process Vietnamese asylum seekers on the Australian mainland, and especially NOT to push back boats from Vietnam.
No Vietnamese has ever come to Australia by boat as a joy ride, all did so to seek asylum. They fled South East Asia’s most oppressive regime because they have no choice. The men, women, and their kids on the current boat are no exception.
What happened to the 46 Vietnamese which Australia used HMAS Choules to force back on 18th April? Australian officials interviewed them and decided that they had nothing to worry about if returned. A few weeks later, once the world stopped watching, in the past few months at least 1 person has been jailed, and at least several have been interrogated several times.
General Bottrel told Senator Kim Carr on the 25th May Senate Estimates that the April “take-back” was not a “turn-back”, because Vietnam cooperated with Australia. With Burma somewhat improving, Vietnam is now the worst human rights abuser in South East Asia. Is the Australian government proud that it has cooperation from South East Asia’s worst abuser in taking back people who fled it?
Among Vietnamese boatpeople who previously have sought asylum in Australia, many were Christians who fled because the Vietnamese authorities confiscated their churches, or demolished their sacred statutes, plus others who were democracy activists. This boat is likely to have some more of such victims. Don’t send them back!
Trung Doan 0400 466 848
Giang Nguyen 0413 865 756
HRW Report 2014 https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2014/country-chapters/vietnam
Human Rights in Vietnam “dire”- continue to deteriorate.
Refugee and Detention Rights Advocate
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre