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호주, ‘아프간·스리랑카 난민 신청’ 검토 일괄 중단


호주 정부가 아프가니스탄과 스리랑카 난민들의 난민 신청 검토를 일괄 중단하기로 했다.

국제앰네스티는 호주 정부의 이번 조치가 “궁극적으로 1951년 ‘난민지위에 관한 UN협약(난민협약)’ 상 호주 정부의 국제적 의무에 반하는 일”이라며 비판했다. 이 협약에 따르면, 고문이나 박해 혹은 죽음의 위험에 놓인 이들은 타국에 난민 신청을 하고 보호를 받을 수 있다.

보트를 타고 호주로 넘어오는 난민 신청자의 90퍼센트 이상이 순수한 보호 신청자인 상황에서,호주 정부의 이번 조치는 정당하게 보호받아야 할 이들의 인권 침해로 이어질 수 있다.

국제앰네스티 아시아태평양국(局) 샘 자리프(Sam Zarifi) 국장은 “호주 정부의 이번 결정은 매우 충격적”이라며, “호주 정부는 가장 취약한 계층의 권리를 짓밟으려 하고 있다”고 지적했다. 국제앰네스티는 이러한 움직임이 인종차별철폐조약(Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) 하에서 호주가 이행해야 할 의무에 반하는 것인지에 대해서도 조사할 방침이다.

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Australia asylum suspension could harm world’s most vulnerable

Friday 9 April 2010

The government has begun a blanket suspension of the assessment of new claims by Afghan and Sri Lankan nationals. Amnesty International has condemned the Australian Government’s suspension of the processing of new asylum claims by Afghan and Sri Lankan nationals, which is fundamentally inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.

“This decision is outrageous. Sadly, it appears that the Australian government is now attempting to override the rights of the most vulnerable,” said Sam Zarifi, director of Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific programme.

Amnesty International has also expressed grave concerns that this move will result in the arbitrary detention of people who have genuine protection claims.

The decision to suspend processing the claims of Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum seekers pre-empts the UNHCR’s official review of the security situation on the ground in either of those countries.

Amnesty International said it believes the Australian Government’s move sends a dangerous message throughout the Asia Pacific region. The possibility exists that as a result of this decision, other governments within the region could begin to pressure UNHCR to cease processing of Afghan and Sri Lankan nationals in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

Amnesty International has called upon the Australian Government to release the information on which it has based its claim that the security conditions in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have improved to such an extent as to justify this sudden blanket suspension.

“The government’s rationale for this apparently unilateral decision conflicts with the information Amnesty International and other human rights organisations have received regarding the situation on the ground for many people in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka,” said Sam Zarifi.

The Australian Government has a rigorous process of assessing asylum claims according to the internationally agreed criteria set out in the 1951 Refugee Convention. Under that process, individuals who are found to be at risk of torture, persecution or death, are offered protection. Those people who are not found to have genuine claims are returned to their country of origin. As Australia is a signatory to the Refugee Convention, that process should stand.

Well over 90 per cent of asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat are found to have genuine protection claims. This means the overwhelming majority of Afghans and Sri Lankans seeking asylum in Australia have been found to have genuine claims for protection. This statistic demands that the Australian Government further explain a blanket ban on these two groups.

Situations for many groups in Sri Lanka, including activists, journalists and some Tamils remain tenuous and dangerous. Similarly in Afghanistan, many individuals, in particular activists and journalists, have fled real threats from the Taliban or government-associated warlords, while women, single heads of households, unaccompanied minors, victims of trauma, people requiring medical attention and people with disabilities are at significant risk.

“There is no justification for the Australian Government’s application of a blanket suspension of the assessment of asylum claims from Afghan and Sri Lankan nationals,” said Sam Zarifi.

Amnesty International will be investigating whether the move also puts Australia in breach of its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.


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