Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, today sent the names of two Afghani asylum seekers, and three children of asylum seekers, who have been killed since their return from Australia to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. This includes three names in addition to the two people who the Centre confirmed had died earlier this week.
"The Edmund Rice Centre is committed to assist the Department with its investigations into the safety of returned asylum seekers," Mr Glendenning said.
"We are committed to providing substantiated, corroborated and ethical research. Our research is overseen by a university ethics committee and an eminent team of professional consultants.
"As part of our commitment to ethical research we are required to gain the consent of individuals, or the families of those who have died, before releasing their names publicly or to the Government. As these people continue to be in danger they have just concerns about revealing all details about their identity, and it is vital that we respect their safety.
"We are currently in the process of contacting those discussed in the research to seek their consent. As soon as we receive consent from an individual we will pass their details on to the Department,"� Mr Glendenning said.
"The only information we have ever withheld from the Department is the names of people who have asked us not to pass on their details. We are under an ethical obligation to respect this wish. However, we will work to encourage people to allow their details to be given to the Department to allow further investigation.
"DIMA now has ample information to begin an investigation. It is in a position to be able to independently verify our research. If it chooses not to do this, then that is a political decision of the Minister. It is not due to a lack of cooperation by any other party,"� Mr Glendenning concluded.
The delegation to Afghanistan consisted of Mr Paul Lane from the Lingiari Foundation in Broome, Mr Phil Glendenning, Edmund Rice Centre Director and Mr Martin Reusch, interpreter and former resident of Kabul.
For interview with Phil Glendenning or Paul Lane please contact:
0408260739 or after hours (02) 94579294
Edmund Rice Centre for justice and Community Education, 9 Alexandra Ave., Croydon. NSW. Australia. 2132. Tel: +61.2.97459700; Fax: +61.2.97459770; email: [email protected]