Australien: Asylantrag von kurdischem iranischem Journalisten muss endlich bearbeitet werden

10. November 2016: RAN 21/16

Behrouz Boochani (Quelle: PEN International)

Behrouz Boochani (Quelle: PEN International)

Der internationale PEN fordert die australische Regierung auf, den Asylantrag von Behrouz Boochani, einem kurdischen iranischen Journalisten, endlich zu bearbeiten. Boochani wird seit über drei Jahren in einem von der australischen Regierung betriebenen Flüchtlingslager auf der Insel Manus, dem Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, festgehalten. Die Insel gehört zu Papua-Neuguinea.

Boochani floh am 23. Mai 2013 aus dem Iran. Im Juli desselben Jahres wurden er und andere Asylsuchende von der australischen Marine auf dem Weg von Indonesien abgefangen. Er berief sich auf Artikel 1 des Übereinkommens über die Rechtsstellung der Flüchtlinge (geänderte Fassung von 1967) und beantragte Asyl in Australien. Er wurde zunächst auf die Weihnachtsinsel gebracht, von wo er Ende August 2013 gewaltsam in das Manus Island Regional Processing Centre verlegt wurde, ohne dass sein Asylfall berücksichtigt wurde.

Am 26. April 2016 entschied das Oberste Gericht von Papua-Neuguinea, dass Australiens regionales Verarbeitungszentrum auf der Insel Manus illegal und verfassungswidrig sei.

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Schreiben Sie Protestbriefe:

  • Fordern Sie die australischen Behörden auf, den Asylantrag des kurdisch-iranischen Journalisten Behrouz Boochani nach dem Urteil vom 26. April des Papua-Neuguinea-Prozesses endlich zu bearbeiten
  • Fordern Sie die australischen Behörden auf, die Sicherheit und das Wohlergehen aller zu gewährleisten, die in Australiens Auffanglagern auf den küstennahen Inseln festsitzen.
  • Fordern Sie die australischen Behörden auf, die derzeitige Praxis zur Bearbeitung von Asylanträgen von Flüchtlingen umgehend zu beenden. Das Verschiffen von Flüchtlingen auf die Inseln Nauru und Manus und das Festhalten in den Flüchtlingscamps unter katastrophalen Bedingungen ist mit den Empfehlungen des Büros des Hohen Kommissars der Vereinten Nationen für Menschenrechte nicht vereinbar. Es muss sichergestellt werden, dass Asylsuchende und jene in Einwanderungshaft in den Offshore-Auffanglagern (einschließlich Behrouz Boochani) einen angemessenen Rechtsschutz erhalten und dass diese Maßnahmen mit den völkerrechtlichen Verpflichtungen Australiens vereinbar sind.

Schreiben Sie an:

I.E. Frau Lynette Margaret Wood
Botschaft von Australien
Wallstraße 76 – 79
10179 Berlin

Hintergrund (bereitgestellt vom internationalen PEN)

In his native Iran, Behrouz Boochani worked as a freelance journalist, and for several Iranian newspapers including Kasbokar Weekly, Khanoon, Etemad and the Iranian Sports Agency.  His publications include articles on politics in the Middle East and interviews with the Kurdish elite in Tehran. He is the co-founder, -editor, and contributor to the Kurdish Magazine Werya (Varia).   On 17 February 2013, officials from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ransacked the Werya offices in Ilam and arrested 11 of his colleagues. Several were subsequently imprisoned.  Fearing for his safety, Boochani went into hiding.

During his three months in hiding, several colleagues advised Boochani that he was at risk of arrest and interrogation.   In addition to this, as a member of the Kurdish minority in Iran, and of both the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the National Union of Kurdish Students, he had experienced years of threats and surveillance. Having been interrogated and warned previously about his writing and work teaching Kurdish culture and language, and having signed an undertaking that he would not continue this activity, he was in grave danger.

Boochani fled Iran on 23 May 2013.  In July of that year, he and fellow asylum seekers were intercepted by the Australian Navy en route from Indonesia, and he asked for asylum in Australia.  He was taken to Christmas Island and transferred to the Manus Island Immigration Detention Centre in late August 2013, where he has remained ever since.

Boochani’s passion for writing and human rights remains. He has continued to write about Kurdish and Iranian politics from detention, and some of these articles have been published on Kurdish websites in Iran; placing him at further risk should he ever be deported to Iran. Boochani also advocates on behalf of himself and his fellow asylum seekers, despite his predicament. He has worked tirelessly and constantly over his three years of detention and has published articles in Australia’s leading newspapers. He has also published work in Europe and has given many interviews to journalists and film-makers in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Canada, and is writing a book about his experiences of imprisonment on Manus Island (read the first instalment here).

Manus Island has become notorious for its ill-treatment of detainees where violence, sexual abuse and self-harm are reportedly common. Since the 2014 implementation of a ban by the Australian government on any commentary on its asylum seeker policy as administered on Manus Island and Nauru, as well as mainland detention centres, professional journalists and other parties, including teachers, medical and mental health workers employed in these detention centres, have been silenced (see PEN’s 2016 Resolution).

Since his transferral to Manus Island, the status of asylum seekers held in immigration detention in PNG has changed significantly. On 26 April 2016, the full bench of the PNG Supreme Court ruled that Australia’s regional processing centre on Manus Island was illegal and unconstitutional, since the asylum seekers who were seeking asylum in Australia were forcefully brought into PNG under Australian Federal Police Escort and held at the MIRPC against their will. Boochani was accorded refugee status by PNG immigration authorities in April 2016 even though he had refused to formally seek asylum there; Boochani remains adamant that his asylum request be given to Australian immigration.

Despite being nominally free to move about the island, Behrouz Boochani reports that he still faces considerable restrictions in his movement; the only way out of the processing centre is by an arranged bus ride to the main town of Lorengau—access to the centre is out of bounds since it is on a naval base. Refugees are body-searched when they leave and return. Boochani reports feeling unsafe on the island, but at the same time, unable to leave as he does not possess any travel documents. In effect, Boochani remains marooned on Manus Island and his future is on hold indefinitely.  His indefinite state of limbo has compounded his trauma, and amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment which is prohibited under international law, as affirmed in the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Australia is a state party.

Behrouz Boochani is an honorary member of Melbourne PEN and Norwegian PEN. In September 2015, PEN International and a coalition of human rights groups launched an international campaign on Boochani’s behalf calling for his request for asylum to be processed by Australian immigration officials as soon as possible and urging the Australian government to abide by their obligations to the principle of non-refoulement—as defined by Article 33 of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Despite numerous approaches to the Australian government and relevant ministers and departments, by the campaign coalition and its supporters, there has been no response from senior government officials. On 3 November 2016, PEN International and the coalition sent a follow-up letter to the Australian authorities on Boochani’s case.

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