The legal team currently attempting to save refugees from being deported to Nauru Detention Centre have spoken out about a very real and potentially likely fear.
According to The Human Rights Law Centre, the Turnbull government have allegedly written to the legal team to advise that the 72-hour notice period for the 267 refugees waiting to be deported will soon ‘cease to apply’.
The centre’s director of legal advocacy, Daniel Webb, spoke out about the contact from the government, saying that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government are attempting to “rapidly clear the way for fast-track deportations without notice”:
“Not only does it want to be able to return 267 incredibly vulnerable people to harm, it wants to do so suddenly and secretively without warning.”
Previously, the government has stated that ‘bulk deportations’ would not happen, and that each individual case would be considered on merit, but allegedly this is no longer the case. New Assistant Minister for Multiculturalism Craig Laundy has stated to ABC that the future of the 267 refugees would be decided within the fortnight.
“Families are terrified that one night soon they could be woken in the middle of the night and returned to harm under the cover of darkness. One mother told me that every time the door opens she is terrified that it is guards who’ve come to take her and her child back to Nauru,” said Webb. “It’s a matter of basic fairness and due process that vulnerable people have the chance to speak with their lawyers before being bundled onto a plane and deported.”
This coincides with Brisbane‘s Lady Cilento Hospital and protestors previously stating that they wouldn’t be discharging one of the refugee children, baby Asha, for fear that she would be snatched from her hospital room and deported.
According to the HRLC legal group, this has reportedly happened to her once before, saying that “guards stormed her family’s room while they were sleeping. They took her from her mother’s arms and restrained her mother and father in cable ties. They forced the family into a van, then onto a plane to Nauru. That’s a horrible thing to go through once – we’ll do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again”. There has been no comment on this claim from any government department.
Photo: St. John’s Cathedral.