Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Organisations speak out on two immigration matters

Australian Cross Disability Alliance supports calls for the Department of Immigration to review decision relating to child with Down syndrome
Australian Cross Disability Alliance, 7th April 2015

The Australian Cross Disability Alliance supports calls for the Department of Immigration to review its decision to deny a visa to a child because she has disability, despite finding her parents fit to live and work in Australia. The Fonseka family from Sri Lanka plan to work in a Christian crisis centre in remote Australia and claim their visa application has been denied because their daughter, Eliza has Down syndrome[i].

National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) President Suresh Rajan said:  “People are being reduced to formulas and this effectively sanctions disability discrimination,”

“People are reduced to an equation, or net benefit approach in a process that determines eligibility across the potential or possible cost to a community because of one’s disability.  It fails to view these individuals as people who participate to the overall fabric of Australian life,” said Mr Rajan.

This case is not isolated. There have been reports of similar cases in the media[ii]. Damian Griffis, CEO, First Peoples Disability Network said: “Decisions such as these reflect poorly on us all as Australians, and unfortunately are indicative of a discriminatory attitude towards disability that still prevails,”

“If the system automatically discriminates on the basis of disability, then that system needs to be reviewed,” said Mr Griffis.

Matthew Bowden, Co-CEO, People with Disability Australia said: “Australia is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and this case highlights how far we still have to go as a society. There was a national outcry recently relating to discrimination against a young child with Down syndrome, and this decision sends a message about the way we view disability and diversity as a nation.”

Carolyn Frohmader, CEO, Women With Disabilities Australia said: “The Australian Cross Disability Alliance encourages the Minister responsible to review this decision and to recognise the value and contribution of people with disability.”
Joint Statement of Disability Organisations Calling for the Release of People Living With Disability in Immigration Detention Centres
30th March 2015
Disability service providers from across Australia call for legislative change to end the detention of all people living with a disability and their families, following the release of the Australian Human Rights Commissioner’s National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention. 
People living with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimates there are between 2.3 and 3.3 million forcibly displaced people living with a disability, for whom resettlement options are chronically limited ... read the full Statement and list of signatories here
National Ethnic Disability Alliance report:

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