Ruddock's campaign of terror against refugees
by Andrew Jackson Immigration Minister Phil Ruddock has announced plans to step up his campaign of terror against refugees in our desert internment camps, while granting "special humanitarian" status to two hundred people with links to the terrorist South Lebanese Army. Mr Ruddock's plan to allow the soldiers and their families to emigrate as "refugees" from Israel were not announced in Australia, but revealed through news articles in the Middle East. The Christian-dominated South Lebanese Army (SLA) was the Israeli Government's puppet security force in the Lebanese "buffer zone", subjugating the Lebanese Muslims in the region and carrying out attacks against Palestinians living in refugee camps. When the Israeli army announced it was withdrawing from Lebanon at the end of last year, the SLA retreated across the border with their Israeli masters and are now claiming refugee status. Mr Ruddock's willingness to accept refugees under these conditions is a slap in the face for the thousands who have escaped persecution and death elsewhere in the Middle East, and risked their lives to arrive in Australia by boat. Mr Ruddock has signalled his intention to escalate human rights abuses against these true refugees, by introducing legislation to further "toughen up" life in detention centres. He has stated that sedative injections needed to be more "comprehensively implemented" against protesting detainees, and is offering wide-ranging new search powers for the ACM's (Australasian Correctional Management) private security guards. Labor's spokesperson for immigration Con Sciacca accused the Government of setting up "stalags". [German prison camps, usually for non-commissioned officers] "Are you going to invoke the ghost of [Nazi] Dr Mengele and go around injecting them with chemicals? "If Mr Ruddock wants to do that then he'll find it very difficult to get support from us", said Mr Sciacca. The Democrats and Greens have also stated that they will oppose any harsher refugee laws — making it virtually certain they will not be passed through the Senate. The Democrats immigration spokesperson, Andrew Bartlett, said an urgent investigation was already needed into alleged abuses of power by the ACM Guards. "Why you would then seek to give guards more power is absolutely astonishing", Senator Bartlett said. Mr Ruddock is also legislating to allow himself new powers to arbitrarily expel refugees who attempt to protest against or escape from detention. Under the International Convention on Refugees, repatriating refugees who have a legitimate fear of death or persecution in their homeland is illegal. The only exception to that is for people who have committed war crimes and other human rights abuses. Mr Ruddock, determined to show his ignorance of human rights protocol, is intending to label prisoners found guilty of escaping from detention, or rioting in protest of their inhumane treatment as "serious criminals", and including them under the "war crimes and human rights abuses" exemption. Margaret Piper, Executive Director of the Refugee Council of Australia criticised Mr Ruddock, saying "Simply being involved in a rumpus at a detention centre is not sufficient grounds for a country to totally ignore the rights of that person." Mr Sciacca, who is in line to become the Immigration Minister after the next election, will argue in the party room for Labor to support this particular provision. Union Leaders Call For Action Last week the Victorian Trades Hall Council Executive voted unanimously to back a campaign for the more humane treatment of refugees in Australia's detention centres. "Union members — some of whom are former refugees — are appalled to learn of the horrific conditions at Maribyrnong and other detention centres", said VTHC Secretary Leigh Hubbard. "Men, women and children are enduring condition worse than those in our prisons. "Unions believe there should be a return to the previous policy of housing refugees in the community while they await the outcome of their cases, [which] is the policy of all civilised countries. "Mandatory detention of refugees is a disgrace and this situation is something which our community should not tolerate", Mr Hubbard said. The VTHC Executive repeated its earlier calls for a judicial inquiry into the management and conditions at the privately run migrant detention centres, and has foreshadowed the possibility of union bans on construction and other work at the centres unless the Government changes its policy.