Once again we see the proof that refugee cases are decided by politics not the actual circumstances of the cases. Iranian asylum applications have gone from 100% in 2008-2009 to 27% in 2010-2011.

A similar slide has occurred with the Afghan cases and in fact all applications. As the politicians have turned their minds to deterrence so have the “independent decision makers” turned their acceptance rates to refusal. To read these cases is to see the many ways in which brutal governments can harm and destroy their people. Not to worry, Australian immigration staff and “independent decision makers” can happily dismiss the evidence of torture and abuse with a “not credible witness” comment which requires no evidence to back up or the old standby – “the applicant can relocate” as if Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq are divvied up into states like Australia when people can move at will.

Of further concern is the comment by DIAC head, Andrew Metcalf that Iranians are “contumacious”- i.e. wilful, disobedient, unlawful in their behaviour. This comment follows a story in the West Australian last week quoting an unnamed senior immigration source as calling for lethal weapons in detention centres and a change to detention centres so that they operate as prisons. Here the argument fell down as the senior immigration source clearly forgot that the legal premise upon which people can be detained without charge is that the detention centres are non-punitive places of administrative detention only.

These are worrying trends in the hellholes.

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