Asylum seekers from Afghanistan are being wrongfully denied temporary protection visas and are falling victim to a failed government policy according organisers of a symposium being held this Friday at UTS.
Freedom from Persecution? The Question of Afghanistan will address the Australian Government's refugee policy and its impact.
It has been organised by the UTS Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre (CCS) in association with the current Unsafe Haven photographic exhibition in the UTS Tower foyer which highlights the plight of the Hazara people.
The symposium includes a written report by the photographer, UTS graduate and former refugee Abdul Hekmat, detailing evidence of increasing persecution faced by Hazaras in Afghanistan.
CCS core member and UTS Associate Professor James Goodman said the symposium is presenting written, visual and audio evidence that Afghanistan is not free from persecution.
"The Australian Government has decided Afghanistan is safe. In 2007 Australia recognised 95 per cent of Afghan asylum seekers as being in need of protection. Now they approve only 45 per cent," Associate Professor Goodman said.
"The Government has also signed a deal with the Afghanistan Government to forcibly return Afghan asylum seekers, despite United Nations reports that political violence is escalating.
"The Government insists the decade-long occupation of Afghanistan has been a success; that most Afghan refugees do not need protection and Australian troops can leave in 2014. But the evidence does not stack up."
Professor William Maley from the Australian National University will speak about the current situation in Afghanistan and the need for the Government to change its position. Professor Sam Blay from UTS will discuss the way Australia justifies its refugee policy.
Dr Anne McNevin from RMIT will release her new book Contesting Citizenship: Irregular Migrants and New frontiers of the Political and Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Collective will discuss campaigning for Afghan refugee rights in the context of Australia's continued military involvement in the country.
Other speakers include Liz Thompson (refugee advocate), Dr Nour Dados (University of Sydney), Dr Wahid Razi (CCS), Dr Safdar Ahmed and Bilquis Ghani (Refugee Art Project), Laurie Berg (UTS Law) and Dr Omid Tofighian.
When: Friday 7 October 2011
Where: Room 411, Building 2 (CB02.411), UTS City campus, Broadway (enter via the main entrance of the UTS Tower).
Time: 9.15am – 5.30pm
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