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WG: Overseas immigration news, 4/22/02
by Tausch, Arno
23 April 2002 05:11 UTC
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for your kind attention. you can subscribe to this first-class free daily
immigration policy press service via the internet-address at the end of the
message. the service also carries US daily immigration news

arno tausch

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Mark Krikorian [mailto:msk@cis.org]
Gesendet: Montag, 22. April 2002 22:51
An: CISNEWS@cis.org
Betreff: Overseas immigration news, 4/22/02

[For CISNEWS subscribers --

1. Mexico: Gov't seeks bus-company bids to deport illegals
2. Honduras: Over a dozen have died en route to U.S.
3. U.K.: Bill would deny schooling to asylum children
4. France: Immigration angst fuels Le Pen victory (2 stories)
5. Norway: Official seeks more immigration debate
6. Italy: More illegal immigrants apprehended at sea
7. Greece: Neighbors discuss illegal immigration, security
8. Uganda: Gov't wants softer immigration laws for neighbors
9. Hong Kong: 200 protesters storm immigration headquarters
10. Taiwan: 60,000 Chinese file applications for immigration
11. Australia: Gov't to seek UN seat despite criticism
12. Australia: Stronger immigrant smuggling laws proposed
13. Australia: Continued detention center protests
14. Australia: Gov't warns it may use force to end riots
15. Australia: Ruddock defends guards, shuns detainees
16. Australia: Official claims most detainees behaved
17. Australia: 15 illegal found working near Sydney

-- Mark Krikorian]

Bids on deportation of migrants
(translation from Spanish original)
By Victor Fuentes and Luis Alegre
Reforma (Mexico City), April 21, 2002

MEXICO CITY -- To transfer the foreign undocumented workers detained 
throughout the country, the National Migration Institute [INM] put out a 
call for bids for at least 8,200 bus trips between June and December of 
this year, an average of 40 trips per day.

The Institute has 235 routes established to transport undocumented workers 
to the detention centers where they are kept until their legal situations 
are reviewed.

More than the 60 percent of the trips, around 5,000, involve Chiapas, but 
they are anticipated in every state.

The maximum anticipated amount of trips exceeds 11,000, and according to 
Institute sources, the estimate is based on last year's experience and

Although the bidding terms state that the service "should be first class", 
each business has its own definition of that term.

The bidding terms also state: "The bidders should provide two drivers for 
each bus as well as all the necessary equipment for the ground transport of 
the passengers. Also they should be aware that at any moment for reasons of 
security the National Migration Institute can alter the pre-established 
routes according to need."

According to INM data between 1995 and 2000 a total of 718,000 foreign 
undocumented workers were detained in the country, a daily average of 327 
persons that had to be transported immediately to migration centers.

Last year the average increased to 413 detentions per day, that is to say, 
some ten tourist buses full. Some 60 trips a day would be necessary if the 
maximum number of trips were required.

Approximately ninety percent of the undocumented come from Guatemala, 
Honduras and El Salvador which explains the saliency of Chiapas in this 
plan, and specifically of the city of Tapachula.

Of the 235 routes, at least 107 have Tapachula as their final destination, 
the location used to deport Central Americans back to their country of

Some routes to that city depart from localities as distant as Mexicali, 
Tijuana, Nogales, New Laredo and Matamoros.

Between 2,500 and 3,500 trips, 30 percent, are anticipated along the route 
of departure and return between Tapachula and the migratory station of El 
Manguito, municipality of Tonalá, only five kilometers from the border with 

The other two more important routes in Chiapas are El Hueyate-Huehuetan-The 
Manguito-Tapachula, with less than 950 trips, and Comitán-City Cuauhtémoc, 
with 350 trips.

As for the trips originating outside of Chiapas, the routes 
Villahermosa-Tapachula and Tapanatepec-Juchitán-Tapachula predominate. This 
last route covers Oaxaca and Michoacán, with a daily trip each one.

The most extreme case is that of the route that goes from Tijuana to 
Tapachula, passing for Mazatlán and the DF. Few Central Americans arrive so 
far away, so that from June to December there will be only between 6 and 9 

The intention of the INM is that a single company provide the service 
throughout the country, for which, according to the procurement terms 
"partial passage will not be considered."

The company presently offering the service is Autotur, the largest tourist 
bus company in the country.

In 2000 100 million pesos were spent in deporting the undocumented, 70 
million in ground transportation and the remainder in air. The objective 
has been to reduce the costs, so much so that that last year the assistance 
of the was requested to deport Ecuadorian migrants.


At least 13 Hondurans died this year in attempts to reach U.S.
Agencia EFE, April 22, 2002

TEGUCIGALPA (EFE) -- At least 13 Hondurans have died this year attempting 
to reach the United States, and some 1,250 others are in U.S., Mexican and 
Guatemalan prisons, according to Deputy Foreign Minister.

Quiñonez also told Tegucigalpa's America radio Saturday that many of these 
immigrants' children are used "for organ sales," but he did not go into any 

Many immigrants leave their children in Honduras and, if they arrive in the 
United States, "they become victims there of international organizations 
that offer to bring them their children. These children disappear along the 
way; they are used for organ sales, they are used for prostitution and a 
number of things," Quiñonez said.

According to Quiñonez, at least 395 Hondurans have disappeared in the past 
two years on their way to the United States.

Foreign Ministry Consular Affairs Director Francisco Martinez said the 
number of Hondurans who have died on the journey to the United States, 
almost all of them in Mexico, "is quite worrisome," noting that seven had 
died already this month.

Martinez said most immigrants were young and warned, "people-smuggling 
activity is tied to drug trafficking, weapons dealing, kidnapping and crime 
in general."

He said some 900 Honduran immigrants were in prison in the United States 
for various crimes, including murder, rape and drug trafficking.

Quiñonez said some 250 Hondurans were in jail in Mexico and 100 others in 
Guatemala, most of them for illegal immigration. He said Mexican 
authorities deport large numbers of Hondurans.

Both officials said that as a result of tighter U.S. and Mexican border 
controls, only 1 percent of the 40,000 Hondurans who try to get into the 
United States each year manage to do so.

Quiñonez and Martinez said these immigrants face serious dangers on the 
way, from being abandoned by their "coyotes," as alien smugglers are known, 
to being injured in accidents, forced into prostitution or raped in the 
case of women and children, and even dying.

The Foreign Ministry estimates that some 650,000 Hondurans live in the 
United States, both legally and illegally, of whom around 105,000 enjoy 
Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which enables them to work in that

The Honduran government is pressuring the United States to extend TPS for 
the third time. The legislation expires July 6 and is part of a U.S. aid 
package for Honduras and Nicaragua, the countries most affected by 
Hurricane Mitch in 1998.


Vulnerable Asylum Children 'Facing Educational Exclusion'
By Andrew Woodcock
The Press Association (U.K.), April 22, 2002

Vulnerable children face exclusion from the education system under the 
Government's proposals for a chain of accommodation centres to house 
asylum-seekers, it was claimed today.

The Government's Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, due for its 
second reading in the Commons on Wednesday, envisages centres providing 
those applying for refugee status with all essential services - including 
education - on one site.

The Children's Society said this would amount to "forced segregation" of 
asylum-seekers' children. Together with other members of the Refugee 
Children's Consortium, the society is hoping to win backing from MPs for an 
amendment to the Bill to ensure they retain their right to places at 
mainstream schools.

The Consortium was backed by Bill Morris, leader of the TGWU union, who 
said the youngsters should be treated as "children first and children 
needing support from the asylum system second".

Children's Society chief executive Bob Reitemeier said: "We are in danger 
of relegating some of society's most vulnerable children to a second-class 
status if this Bill is introduced as it stands.

"These proposals will impose forced segregation on children already 
dislocated from their home, from mainstream education, and lead to their 
further detachment from society.

"The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children states that all 
children have a universal and equal right to receive education. Yet this 
legislation is perilously close to withdrawing one of the most important 
services a child can receive."

Placement in accommodation centres - many of which are expected to be sited 
in relatively remote rural locations - and exclusion from local schools 
will make the process of integration into British society even more 
difficult for already traumatised children, said Mr Reitemeier.

The Bill removes the accountability of local education authorities for 
asylum-seekers' children, he said, adding: "It is not at all clear what 
that accountability is being replaced with. For us, that is a very 
dangerous situation."

Mr Morris said: "Children have got needs and those needs should be 
addressed and they shouldn't be discriminated against in the context of 
being educated separately."

They were speaking at the launch at the House of Commons of a joint 
statement on the Bill by a coalition of organisations concerned with 
Britain's treatment of asylum-seekers, including the TGWU, Children's 
Society, Refugee Council, Churches' Commission for Racial Justice and 
British Medical Association.

The coalition said that asylum policy should aim to build strong and safe 
communities, promote inclusion, secure the best interests of children, 
promote good health and support independence and integration through work.

Nick Hardwick, chief executive of the Refugee Council, welcomed the 
abolition of the system under which asylum-seekers were supported with 
vouchers which could be exchanged for food and other essentials.

But he said that Government help for asylum-seekers should be brought up to 
income support levels and, where possible, they should be allowed to work 
to support themselves.


Far rightist wooed voters with anti-immigrant line
National Front leader in striking comeback
By Barry James
The International Herald Tribune, April 22, 2002

PARIS -- Despite critics' charges that his name is a byword for bigotry and 
bullying, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a 73-year-old former paratrooper, has led his 
National Front party from virtually nowhere - 0.74 percent of the vote in 
1974 - to a stunning success Sunday with appeals to voters' fears about 
crime and immigration.

Although the National Front split into two rival movements four years ago, 
Le Pen won public support with his tough talk about law and order, 
violence, immigration and the expansion of Islam in France.

Ostracized by the European Parliament, of which he is a member, Le Pen also 
spoke out strongly against the European Union, and he supports renouncing 
the treaties binding France to the community.

Le Pen sought to found a European-wide movement of the extreme right, but 
this failed because Austria's Joerg Haider and Italy's Gianfranco Fini 
found him too coarse and did not want to be associated with him.

Le Pen claims the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as a friend. He flew to 
Baghdad in 1990 to free Frenchmen held there after the invasion of Kuwait 
in 1990, and said he found nothing outrageous in Iraqi policies that led to 
the Gulf War.

He said that if he is elected, he will build 200,000 prison cells, restore 
the death penalty and deport all illegal immigrants as well as all 
immigrants in French jails. He says he will first and foremost defend poor 
white families that he says are menaced by North African immigrants in 
tough housing developments around Paris, Lille, Lyon, Marseille and other 
big cities.

"I will make the bad tremble, I will be a comfort to the good," he promised 
at a recent rally in Marseille.

Le Pen, who served in the military in Indochina and Algeria, has been in 
politics almost continuously since 1956, when he became a deputy in the 
party of Pierre Poujade, which appealed to the lower-middle class and white 
exiles from Algeria.

He was born in Brittany and boasts that in his youth he ran around with 
gangs fighting others with sticks and chains.

He was kicked in the head in a campaign brawl in 1957 and lost an eye. For 
years, he wore a black eyepatch and did not demur when supporters explained 
he had been injured during fighting in Algeria. He proudly shows photos of 
him next to General Jacques Massu, who institutionalized torture during the 
Battle of Algiers, but sued two French newspapers for libel when they 
reported he had himself practiced torture.

In 1965, Le Pen helped run the election campaign of the far-right candidate 
Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour.

He founded the National Front in 1972, and 14 years later managed to win 35 
seats in the National Assembly. But he lost ground in subsequent elections, 
although his share of the popular vote kept growing. Although he lives in a 
luxurious chateau west of Paris, donated by an admirer, he appeals not only 
to older voters, but also to the working classes in the former Red Belt of 
once Communist-held wards north of Paris.

He was challenged for the leadership in 1998 by his then heir apparent 
Bruno Megret, a smoother and more calculating politician. Many wrote Le Pen 
off the political map, but Megret was far back in the pack Sunday.

Le Pen has a knack of bouncing back from setbacks. His former wife appeared 
in an erotic magazine wearing nothing but a feather duster and complained 
of his macho bawdiness. His speech is laced with raunchy sentiments about 

In 1987, he described the Nazi death camps as a mere "detail of history" 
and made an offensive pun about gas ovens. He was found guilty and fined 
for punching a female Socialist deputy in 1997.

But none of this has cost him support among his core voters, to whom he 
appeals with a barnstorming oratory backed up with modern multimedia 

Despite his anti-Semitic statements in the past, Le Pen has directed his 
political appeal to French Jews, shocked by a series of attacks on 
synagogues and cemeteries following the Israeli offensive against the 
Palestinians. He blames all of France's troubles on immigration.

"Full employment has become impossible because of immigration," he told the 
Marseille rally last week.

"I reject the policy of immigration. It could be fatal for our country."

Political commentators noted that Le Pen's political fortunes mounted 
sharply after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, which he evokes to 
underline his opposition to immigration. His position became even firmer 
after North African immigrants booed the singing of the "Marseillaise" at a 
soccer match between France and Algeria in Paris.

When President Jacques Chirac attempted to keep Le Pen out of the election 
by putting pressure on mayors not to give him the 500 signatures of 
endorsement he needed to run, Le Pen turned the situation on its head, 
presenting himself as the underdog and the true representative of the man 
in the street.


Right on the rise across continent
An anti-immigrant current is sweeping EU
By Andrew Osborn
The Guardian (U.K.), April 22, 2002

Jean-Marie Le Pen's success in the first round of the French presidential 
elections is far from being an isolated phenomenon. The right is on the 
rise across Europe and has already won power in capitals from Copenhagen to 

Although there are specific factors in individual countries, the broader 
picture is that its success has been fuelled by disenchantment with the 
performance of leftwing governments, which have been perceived as failing 
to deliver on their promises. There is also growing unease about 
immigration and a feeling that national sovereignty is being eroded by an 
ever-closer European union.

In Denmark, a centre-right coalition underpinned by the ultra-right Danish 
People's party swept to power last November. It has drafted tough new 
asylum policies and cut aid to the developing world.

In Portugal, a rightwing coalition which includes the fiercely 
anti-immigration Popular party, led by a crusading rightwing journalist and 
social conservative, Paulo Portas, won power last month.

In Spain, Jose Maria Aznar won a second term in March 2000, crushing the 
socialist opposition and obtaining the first conservative majority since 
Spain became a democracy after the death of General Franco in 1975.

In the Netherlands, a flamboyant anti-immigration gay politician called Pim 
Fortuyn is forecast to win up to 20% of the vote in next month's general 
election after becoming the biggest political force in Rotterdam in local 

In Norway, an administration propped up by the far-right Progress party 
took office last October. The Progress party wants to cap immigration at 
1,000 people a year.

In Italy, the rightwing media magnate Silvio Berlusconi defied 
international criticism last June to win power. Umberto Bossi, leader of 
the xenophobic Northern League, and Gianfranco Fini, leader of the 
post-fascist National Alliance, hold key cabinet posts.

In Belgium, the far-right Vlaams Blok party became the biggest political 
force in Antwerp in October 2000. It wants to repatriate all non-European 

In Austria, the anti-immigration Freedom party holds six cabinet posts in 
the conservative government.


Justice Minister cautions against immigrant violence
The Norway Post, April 20, 2002

The use of violence among immigrants must be brought to light, together 
with the supression of women in the same environments, says Justice 
Minister Odd Einar Doerum.

The positive side of immigration must not make us blind to what is wrong. 
Immigration is also importing violence, the Justice Minister says to 

In Doerum's opinion, it is important to debate this issue, even if the 
immigrants are necessary to keep Norway running.

Rumors of stricter immigration policy has led to a reduction in the number 
of asylum seekers to Norway, Aftenposten writes.

Last fall, around 2000 persons applied for asylum each month. Now the 
number has been reduced to around 1500 a month.


More illegal immigrants arrested in Italy
Agence France Presse, April 22, 2002

ROME (AFP) -- Italian coastguards said Monday they had intercepted three 
ships carrying 112 illegal immigrants travelling from North Africa to 
Europe, off an island where around 50 would be immigrants drowned in a 
shipwreck last month.

The first ship, carrying 75 immigrants, was searched after a tip-off from a 
Tunisian fishing boat, they said. They said the other two boats were in 
difficulty and the interception had helped avoid a disaster.

In early March around 50 people are believed to have drowned off the island 
of Lampedusa when a boat carrying immigrants overturned in heavy seas while 
being towed by a fishing boat south of Sicily last week.

Eleven people who survived the journey said they came from Liberia, Tunisia 
and Morocco.

The island, on Italian territory, lies between Tunisia, Sicily and Malta on 
a shipping route which is used by many people trying to enter Italy

Last year, some 20,000 illegal immigrants came ashore along Italy's 
7,600-kilometre coastline and the trend has continued this year. Most pay 
trafficking gangs to smuggle them in.

The Italian authorities have already arranged a special meeting of EU 
interior ministers on May 30 in Rome to discuss the issue and consider 
setting up a European border force.

Italian police also said that they had arrested around 50 people claiming 
to be Iraqi Kurds, who had illegally entered the country near Lecce in 
south Puglia.


Cooperation prospects discussed by Greece, Romania and Bulgaria
The Cyber Thesis Journal, April 22, 2002

The leaders of Greece, Romania and Bulgaria in their tripartite meeting 
stressed the need for a more organized presence to combat illegal 
immigration, arms and drugs smuggling and consolidate security in the

The meeting took place in Bucharest while the three leaders examined the 
prospects for the cooperation of the three countries toward the 
strengthening of investments, the greater activation of economic chambers, 
the development of transportation infrastructures and the linking of energy 
and natural gas networks.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis stated that when the reconstruction of 
the Yugoslav network is completed there will be greater potential for the 
development of the energy market in the region.

The Athens-Bucharest-Sofia cooperation at a political level was also 
examined in the meeting and at this point, it was stressed that Greece 
backs the accession of Romania and Bulgaria into the European Union. It was 
also underlined that a regular communication takes place on this issue at a 
diplomatic level and that a Greek Foreign Ministry diplomatic mission is 
currently in progress aimed at backing the Balkan demands.


Promote EAC Spirit
The (Uganda) New Vision, April 22, 2002

The Government has instructed the immigration department to stop harassing 
Kenyans and Tanzanians who apply for entry and work permits.

Internal Affairs Minister Eriya Kategaya said in his instruction that in 
the spirit of the East African Cooperation, which is being revived, it 
would be contradictory to curtail the movement of persons from within the 
member states.

Nationals from both countries applying for entry and work permits will now 
get preferential treatment over other nationalities. The move has already 
been effected and been in force in the last two months. This followed 
repeated reports of East Africans being hunted down by immigration officers 
and police over illegal stay. Many others have had to wait long periods 
before their application for work permits are granted.

The immigration laws still stand, but as Kategaya argued, the Community can 
only make sense if people can move freely within it. Already at airports 
there are special desks for East Africans. We also have a common passport, 
a Court of Appeal, a flag. The East African Customs Union is also about to 
be realised. These are slow but sure steps towards a full realisation of 
the Community.

The Uganda position is commendable. There are many nationals of these 
countries who bring in Uganda skills which may not be available locally. 
There are already hundreds of students from these and other neighbouring 
countries now studying in Uganda schools and universities.

The community must encourage and facilitate the free movement of goods and 
labour. This will encourage competition and accelerated development.

But both Kenya and Tanzania should reciprocate the Uganda move. The 
frequent arrests and deportation of Ugandans over illegal stay should now 
be a thing of the past. We must promote the spirit of the East African 


Mainland China Migrants, Supporters Protest Expulsions
The Associated Press, April 22, 2002
(pay site)

HONG KONG (AP) -- Distraught mainland Chinese migrants and family members 
pushed their way into immigration headquarters Monday and refused to leave, 
protesting plans to repatriate thousands of unsuccessful residency seekers.

More than 200 protesters, many of them elderly parents of adult migrants, 
argued and scuffled with police and then sat down inside the ground floor 
entrance of the Immigration Tower, demanding to see immigration chief 
Ambrose Lee.

The protesters accused Lee of splitting their families and called him a 
"sinner of a thousand years."

"Give us justice, give our children residency rights," they chanted.

A handful left after a less senior immigration official appeared to receive 
petitions from the migrants, but most stayed on, rejecting appeals from 
police to move their protest outdoors.

More than 4,000 migrants are defying orders to leave this capitalist haven 
by March 31 after losing a court battle in January. Security officials have 
said 2,000 will be removed within weeks.

So far, eight migrants are known to have been forcibly removed out of more 
than 80 who have returned to the mainland since the March 31 deadline.

Most of the migrants are children of Chinese who acquired residency rights 
after moving to Hong Kong years ago in search of work. Many of their 
children were denied resident status, but came on visitor visas and stayed 

Although many are now adults, they want to stay near their parents, in 
keeping with Chinese custom.

"Arrest me. These documents are useless," shouted migrant Cheng Kwok-fai, 
28. He defiantly ripped a document allowing him a temporary stay that 
expired four days earlier.

Immigration officials did not comment on the protest.

The migrants have held frequent protests, sometimes scuffling with police.

Although China regained Hong Kong in 1997, the former British colony has a 
separate legal and economic system, and strict border controls remain in


60,000 Chinese Seek To Live With Taiwan Spouses In Taiwan
The Associated Press, April 20, 2002
(pay site)

TAIPEI (AP) -- Taiwan is screening about 60,000 immigration applications 
filed by Chinese hoping to live there with their Taiwanese spouses, an 
official said Monday.

The government will approve the applications and let the couples live 
together as long as their marriages are verified, Liu Teh-hsiun, vice 
chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, was quoted as saying by the 
semiofficial Central News Agency.

The relationships are rigorously scrutinized because some criminals have 
smuggled prostitutes to Taiwan by using fake marriages.

Authorities have already verified about 140,000 marriages between Chinese 
and Taiwanese since the late 1980s when Taiwan removed a ban on travel to 
China, Liu was quoted as saying. Taiwan and China split amid civil war in

Many Taiwanese veteran soldiers or blue-collar workers who can't find 
Taiwanese wives have married women from China, usually ones from poor rural 


Australia shrugs off global criticism of campaign for UN seat
By Jack Taylor
Agence France-Presse, April 22, 2002

SYDNEY (AFP) -- Australia is set to launch another bid to win a seat on the 
UN Security Council despite international criticism over its treatment of 
asylum seekers, officials said Monday.

It has already served four two-year terms on the council, but not since 
1985-86, and the country is still smarting from the humiliating defeat 
suffered in 1996 when 30 countries reversed pledges of support on the day 
of the vote.

A spokesman for Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Monday the minister 
is preparing a submission to cabinet in which he will recommend Australia 
push for a non-permanent seat on the council in 2007-08.

Cabinet is expected to back the recommendation, which would involve a long 
diplomatic campaign pursuing votes around the world to defeat countries 
like Italy and Belgium for a seat set aside for western Europe "and others."

The move comes as Australia continues to fend off criticism from UN bodies 
and human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, of its campaign 
against people smuggling and illegal immigration.

Prime Minister John Howard and his government have also been critical of 
the UN committee system, following criticism by the committees of 
Australia's performance on issues such as Aboriginal welfare.

But Downer's spokesman disputed that Australia's policy on asylum seekers 
had damaged its international reputation.

"Our experience has been that a lot of other governments around the world 
are grappling with similar problems," he said.

"There is interest in the situation in Australia and the approach we have 

"It is an issue of international concern. We had the Asia-Pacific meeting 
in Bali at the end of February when there were some 35 countries that came 
along to discuss illegal immigration and people smuggling issues.

"So we don't think that impacted on our international reputation in any 
way. We think the international community looks at Australia as making a 
very constructive contribution to the affairs of this region, but also more 
broadly. "

However, the Labor opposition disagreed, saying Australia was facing 
continuing criticism of its treatment of asylum seekers.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Keven Rudd said there had also been 
repeated attacks by Howard and key ministers on the UN High Commission for 
Refugees, the Commission of Human rights and other UN agencies.

"This is in addition to the fact that there are many key UN conventions 
which this country has yet failed to sign," he said.

Former diplomat Richard Woolcott, who was Australia's representative on the 
Security Council in 1985-86, said efforts should be made again for a seat, 
but he believed international perceptions could damage these.

He questioned a recent statement by Howard that world respect toward 
Australia was at its highest.

"I think that the government may be reluctant to recognise it, but there 
are perceptions overseas about Australia's policies which may not help our 
cause," Woolcott said.

Nonetheless, a campaign to win a seat was still some time off and there 
would be opportunities to re-examine policies, he said.


Australia Supports EU Smuggling Net
By Peter Fray
The Age (Melbourne), April 20, 2002

BRUSSELS -- Australian citizens involved in smuggling illegal immigrants 
from Asia into European countries would face criminal charges under 
proposals being developed by the Federal Government.

Under current laws, it is illegal for Australians to take part in 
people-smuggling into Australia - but not to other countries.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that while no cabinet decision had 
yet been made, the government planned to make it a criminal offence for 
Australians to be involved in the illegal immigrant trade anywhere in the 
world. Details of the plan emerged after ministerial talks between 
Australia and the European Union in Brussels yesterday.

Mr Downer said the European Commission, the umbrella body for the EU's 15 
member states, and Australia would substantially increase cooperation in 
areas such as intelligence sharing, aid programs to transit countries, 
policing and border controls.

This would also help to identify people-smuggling kingpins in Australia and 

Previously the EU and Australia had "passed like ships in the night" on 
illegal immigration, but they had now agreed to hold regular talks on the 
issue, starting soon. Mr Downer said yesterday's meeting with European 
Commissioner Chris Patten and several other key officials did not directly 
deal with Australia's so-called Pacific solution on asylum seekers or 
criticism from within Europe of the Tampa affair.

"We come to Europe to find areas of cooperation," Mr Downer said. "We are 
not running a debating society in diplomacy. We are trying to find 
solutions to serious problems."

Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock and Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson 
were also involved in the meeting, which discussed several trade, education 
and diplomatic areas.

Mr Patten told a news conference after the meeting that while some EU 
member states had been critical of Australia's policy of mandatory 
detention in the past, little would be gained by Europe and Australia 
"hectoring one another or lecturing one another".
"I think there is a recognition right across the board that we share 
similar problems," he said.

On trade, officials from both sides sought to play down a leaked European 
Commission document that says Europe will press for full-scale 
privatisation of public monopolies and opening up all areas to foreign 
investment before it agrees to further dismantling of agriculture 
subsidies. These could include Australia Post and the Foreign Investment 
Review Board.


Third day of protests at Australian detention centre
By John Yarwood
Agence France-Presse, April, 22, 2002

PERTH, Australia (AFP) -- Violent protests at an isolated immigration 
detention centre in northwestern Australia went into a third day Monday as 
the government blamed a hard core of rejected asylum seekers for the

Immigration officials attempted to persuade a small group of armed 
detainees to surrender their weapons during talks that went on most of the 
day, but warned they feared the group was intent on further confrontation.

While some detainees had handed over part of a stockpile of makeshift 
weapons including curtain rods, sharpened broom sticks, knives and 
cleavers, other weapons were being withheld, the officials said.

Curtin, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the port of Derby, is the latest of 
Australia's six immigration centres to be hit by violence after a series of 
riots, arson attacks and hunger strikes at Woomera in South Australia.

Acting Immigration Minister Chris Ellison said though many of the 340 
inmates were co-operating with authorities, a small group continued to defy 

The detainees are mostly from Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Ellison said it was possible the latest unrest was started by a group of 
detainees transferred recently from Woomera and it appeared the majority 
were people who had had their applications for refugee status turned down 
at least once.

A fire started by detainees on Sunday night caused further extensive 
damage, but no additional injuries were reported. One guard was knocked 
unconscious and taken to hospital and 27 other guards received minor 
injuries during a riot on Friday.

Ellison said the government's patience was not limitless, in an clear 
warning the authorities were prepared to use force to disarm the detainees 
if they did not give up weapons voluntarily.

"Encouragingly, we have had indications from other detainees that they are 
going to assist us in apprehending those responsible (for the violence)," 
he said.

"They have handed back five bars and two meat cleavers, but we have made it 
clear they have to hand over all weapons and makeshift weapons and 
implements and we also want those responsible for the disturbance to be 
handed over.

"We want to resolve this peacefully, of course, but if it cannot be done 
that way, then we will have to use appropriate means.

"In other centres, we have gone in and extricated those who were believed 
to be responsible.

"But we do have women and children at Curtin, and we are mindful of that. 
We are especially after those responsible for the disturbances and the fire 
last night.

"We are not going to tolerate this sort of behaviour," he said. "We have 
provided amenities, and this group has damaged them and injured staff."

The last trouble came three weeks ago when 800 protestors stormed the 
Woomera centre, setting free 50 asylum-seekers, about 10 of whom are still 
at large.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, is sending a UN 
team headed by Indian judge P.N. Bhagwati to begin an inspection of the 
centres from May 24.


Canberra threatens to use force against detainees
The Australian Associated Press, April 22, 2002

The Federal Government has warned it may use force to end a tense stand-off 
between asylum seekers and authorities at the Curtin detention centre in 
Western Australia.

After three days of violent unrest, the government was losing patience, 
acting Immigration Minister Chris Ellison said yesterday. Negotiations were 
continuing with detainees armed with curtain rods, sharpened broom sticks, 
knives and cleavers in the main compound at the centre, he said.

"We will not see this situation go for any lengthy period of time," Senator 
Ellison said. "If this situation cannot be resolved peacefully, then we 
will use other means to resolve it."

About 300 detainees have refused to leave the centre's main compound since 
rioting broke out on Friday night.

Twenty-eight guards and several detainees were injured in the violence. 
Fires were lit in accommodation blocks, activity rooms and the kitchen were 
ransacked and thousands of dollars worth of equipment such as computers, 
sewing machines and hairdressing facilities were destroyed.

Senator Ellison said the government was optimistic of a peaceful 
resolution. "But I stress that we will not reach any agreement without 
first having the weapons handed over and those responsible for this 
disturbance being handed over as well."


Ruddock defends guards
By Maria Hawthorne
The Australian Associated Press, April 22, 2002

Rioting inmates at the Curtin Detention Centre had done themselves no 
favours with their violent protest, Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock 
said today.

Mr Ruddock defended the actions of guards in quelling the riot by 100 
inmates whose applications for refugee status had been refused, and said 
the rioters' cases would not be reviewed.

"Inappropriate behaviour always has to be constrained and I don't know how 
you constrain people unless you do so within the limits of force," Mr 
Ruddock said.

"There is no excuse for people deliberately damaging the amenity of the 
centres and there is no excuse for injuring staff who are merely carrying 
out their work.

"People won't be rewarded by being released into the community through 
behaviour of that sort."

Mr Ruddock, in London for talks with British government officials about 
Australia's refugee policy, said the rioters had deliberately damaged 
property, including educational centres, women's facilities and 
recreational areas.

A total of 30 staff and 25 inmates were injured in the disturbances, which 
broke out last Friday, while the cost of damage had yet to be determined.

Seven knives, including five long-handled kitchen knives and two meat 
cleavers, were found in a search of the centre.

Mr Ruddock said the buildings damaged in the riots showed the level of 
services and amenities that the government had built into its 
much-criticised detention centres.

"They are not inhospitable environments," he said.

"They have a very high degree of amenities in them. A Senate colleague 
described Woomera as the equivalent of at least a two-star hotel.

"The fact that you have educational facilities, sporting facilities, 
recreational facilities, a women's resource centre, sewing machines, 
computers deliberately damaged I think would make most Australians feel 
very angry, quite frankly."


Detention trouble 'down to minority'
The Australian Associated Press, April 22, 2002

Most asylum seekers in detention centres do the right thing and only a few 
cause trouble for officials, Multicultural Affairs Minister Gary Hardgrave 
has said.

Questioned about the stand-off at the Curtin detention centre in Western 
Australia, Mr Hardgrave stressed most people were well behaved.

He said while the day-to-day operational matters were handled by 
Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock, staff were also working with community 

"Most of the people in detention centres do the right thing," he told the 
Nine Network's Today Show.

"A few of the troublemakers are dealt with and operational matters are 
handled in that way that some people are isolated to get them out of the 
pack and some of the matters that are causing them concern are dealt with 
on a day-to-day basis."

At Curtin, more than 300 detainees were last night refusing to negotiate 
with authorities, who wanted a handover of any weapons and ring-leaders 
involved in a Friday night riot.

The riot resulted in substantial property damage and injuries to 28 staff.


Illegal workers found in Sydney's south west
The Australian Associated Press, April 22, 2002

SYDNEY (AAP) -- Immigration officials said today they had found 15 people 
working illegally in a factory in Sydney's south west. The Immigration 
Department said the workers were located in a factory in Chullora.

The 15 people detained included 14 men and one woman - six Russians, four 
Tongans, two Fijians, two Nepalese and one Ghanaian.

A statement from the department said the group would remain in detention 
before being deported.

It said immigration officers had visited the Chullora factory after 
receiving information from the community and other government agencies.

A total of 14,238 people last year were found to be working in Australia 
illegally or in breach of their visa conditions, the department said.


"Overseas immigration news" is supported by a grant from The German 
Marshall Fund of the United States, an American institution that stimulates 
the exchange of ideas and promotes cooperation between the United States 
and Europe in the spirit of the postwar Marshall Plan.

Mark Krikorian, executive director
Center for Immigration Studies
1522 K Street N.W., Suite 820
Washington, DC  20005
(202) 466-8185    fax: (202) 466-8076
msk@cis.org    http://www.cis.org

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