News / Asia

Resentment Festers as Detainees Await Australian Security Clearance

A man walks past the smoldering remains of burnt out buildings at Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre, April 21, 2011
A man walks past the smoldering remains of burnt out buildings at Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre, April 21, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

Refugee groups say a backlog of asylum claims continues to foment unrest in Australia's immigration detention centers.  Earlier this year the federal government said intelligence agencies would speed up security checks of asylum seekers whose claims for refugee status have been approved.  However, hundreds of refugees are still being held in detention while they wait for their security clearance.

The Australian government promised earlier this year that all asylum seekers granted refugee status would have their cases finalized by the intelligence agencies by the end of April.

That has not happened and while 70 percent of the backlog has now been cleared, the delay has left about 900 detainees still locked up in immigration facilities while security checks are carried out.  Most of those detained are from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Iraq.

Refugee groups say that their frustrations are in part responsible for a wave of unrest inside Australia’s detention centers in recent weeks, including the camp at Villawood in suburban Sydney, where several buildings were torched by protesters.  Last week there were two attempted suicides by inmates at a facility in the northern city of Darwin, which campaigners say are further examples of a system in crisis.

Among those still being detained despite being granted a refugee visa by Australia four months ago is a 17-year old Hazara from Afghanistan.

He has asked that his identity not be disclosed and says that his feelings of despair grow with each passing day.

"I do not like to talk about my past life because it make me crazy, makes me sad.  A lot of bad happened.  And since I came to Australia for now I miss my family.  Every night I have bad dreams about them," he said. " I would like to study law because I want to be [a] lawyer and when I be lawyer I want to [offer] help to some people like myself."

Australia’s immigration department says some security checks take longer than others and that such investigations must be thorough.  Officials say the process usually takes about two months to complete, almost twice as long as it did two years ago.

A steady flow of asylum seekers arriving in Australian waters by boat in recent months has put the issue of border protection at the top of the political agenda.  A surge in unauthorized arrivals has put pressure on the network of detention camps, including the largest at Christmas Island, a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean.  Overcrowding there has forced the government to send detainees to the mainland.

However, most asylum seekers who ask Australia for protection arrive by air.

Each year Australia grants visas to about 13,000 refugees under various humanitarian resettlement programs.  

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid