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Australia: Fear of imminent forcible deportation: Sadiq Shek Elmi

, N° d'index: ASA 12/009/1998

Sadiq Shek Elmi, a Somali asylum-seeker, faces imminent deportation to Somalia where his life would be seriously at risk due to his membership to the persecuted minority Shikal community.

PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 12/09/98
EXTRA 86/98 Fear of imminent forcible deportation18 November 1998
AUSTRALIA Sadiq Shek Elmi, aged 38
Sadiq Shek Elmi, a Somali asylum-seeker, faces imminent
deportation to Somalia where his life would be seriously at
risk due to his membership to the persecuted minority Shikal
community.
Sadiq Shek Elmi has exhausted all legal avenues of seeking
Australia's protection and has been advised by the authorities
that his deportation is imminent.
If Sadiq Shek Elmi is returned, he may be at risk, immediately
upon his arrival, of being arbitrarily detained, kidnapped,
tortured or extrajudicially executed by clan militias in
control of the airport and other areas. Most surviving
members of the small and physically distinct Shikal community
have already fled the country -- with no foreseeable prospect
of safe return and restitution.
The minority Shikal (or Sheikal) community in Somalia is
particularly vulnerable as they have no armed militia to
protect them against continuing massive human rights abuses
within the context of Somalia's civil wars, including
arbitrary and deliberate killings, torture, and kidnappings.
Sadiq Shek Elmi's father, a Shikal community elder, and his
brother were killed in Mogadishu, their home town, in 1991
after his father reportedly refused to "give" one of his sons
to the Hawiye militia. His sister committed suicide in 1994
as a result of multiple rape by Hawiye clan militia.
Sadiq Shek Elmi fled Somalia fearing death at the hands of
militias now controlling most of Mogadishu. He sought asylum
on arrival in Australia on 2 October 1997 and has since been
held in immigration detention near Melbourne. He is
reportedly held in isolation and unable to contact anyone
except his lawyer.
In March Sadiq Shek Elmi's asylum claim was rejected by the
government. After this he appealed unsuccessfully to the
Australian Refugee Review Tribunal and the Minister for
Immigration. At the vital tribunal hearing he was
unrepresented by his lawyer. On 16 November the last in a
series of Australian High Court injunctions preventing
deportation was lifted. A communication with the UN Committee
Against Torture in Geneva has now been filed on his behalf.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Amnesty International has documented massive human rights
abuses in Somalia since 1991 within the context of the civil
wars. Three years after the United Nations withdrawal from the
country in 1995, the former Somali Republic is still a
collapsed state without a central government and with no
recognized or effective administration, security or rule of
law. Human rights abuses by clan-based militias continue, such
as arbitrary and deliberate killings, torture including rape,
and kidnappings. Minority communities like the Shikal (or
Sheikal), a long-established Islamic religious community who
are outside the main clan structure, are particularly
vulnerable because they lack protection by armed militias.
The Australian Government continues to advise its citizens to
avoid travelling to Somalia, stating that "all of Somalia is
dangerous".
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send
telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in English or your own
language:
- urging the Australian authorities not to forcibly return
Sadiq Shek Elmi to Somalia where he would be at risk of
serious human rights violations, in particular torture or
extrajudicial execution;
- urging them to abide by their obligations under Article 3 of
the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Australia is a
party, which states that no person can be returned to another
state where "there are substantial grounds for believing he
would be in danger of being subjected to torture".
- noting that the Australian government is bound by the
internationally- recognized principle of "non-refoulement",
also enshrined in Article 33 of the Convention relating to the
Status of Refugees, which prohibits states from forcibly
returning people to countries where they risk serious human
rights violations.
APPEALS TO:
The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP
Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs
Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600
Australia
Telegrams: Immigration Minister, Canberra, Australia
Faxes: + 612 6273 4144
Salutation: Dear Minister
The Hon. Alexander Downer MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600
Australia
Telegrams: Foreign Minister, Canberra, Australia
Faxes: + 612 6273 4112
E-mail: A.Downer.MP@ahp.gov.au
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
Mr. Jahanshah Assadi
Regional Representative United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees
9 Terrigal Crescent
O'Malley
Canberra
ACT 2606
Faxes: + 612 6290 1315
and to diplomatic representatives of Australia accredited to
your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International
Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after
5 December 1998.

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