St Margaret's News February 2019 - Page 10

Appointment for Deceased As a key member of the Indo-China Refugee Association, Marion Le spoke at St Margaret’s many years ago, encouraging us to become involved in the refugee settlement program - and we did. Since that time, Marion has gone on to become a highly qualified and leading advocate for refugees. Recently, Marion posted the following message on her Facebook page: “Yesterday I received an interview appointment scheduling a deceased client who took his own life while waiting for this interview. Less than a month ago the AAT refused an application for a young Hazara widowed mother who took her life waiting for her appeal on behalf of her orphaned brother to join her from Kabul - called a liar when she could not produce her parents’ death certificates- still coping with the murder of her husband here she seemingly decided her 5 children were better off without her last year. I could not pro- duce a death certificate for her and asked for an extension of time - the AAT Member refused an extension and refused a Hearing refusing the appeal within days - the brother has no rights and the Tribunal refused a dead wom- an. In her case the Department have known of her death because they re- fused her brother a visa to come for her funeral and to give evidence at her Inquest. The letter yesterday shook me again - it was the Department who arranged the removal of his body to his country of Nationality within I am told 2 days of his suicide - the police were unhelpful to his grieving friends and privacy seemingly controlled meaningful communication with me - no interest in either case of building a meaningful picture of their last days in this world and no notations on their files - just left up to me to deal with scheduling of the deceased - so sad - so callous in this bureaucratic disregard - disrespect and disinterest personified within the letters and attitudes - and I wonder should I attend the interview he longed for and put his case for him - he wait- ed so long and in fear of being suddenly detained and returned to his country that he gave into his fears and took his own life - should I go, I wonder, and put his case so he receives the respect in death he was denied in life? I don’t have a death certificate so without the standard of proof the Department de- mands of our clients maybe his death will not be accepted and his status will be posthumously recognised? I wonder if his death is accepted - which it will be of course because they know his body has left - if he can be posthumous- ly recognised as a refugee - rhetorical questions of course but the real issues are all here - whose responsibility is it to inform the Department of deaths and what is wrong with their systems when they are still “managing” de- ceased clients? The banks are not the only institutions to warrant a Royal Commission- there definitely needs to be one in relation to the dysfunctional Department of Immigration- three Ministers overseeing the DOHA and all missing in meaningful considered action!” Our readers may wish to refer the issues to their media or political contacts. St Margaret’s News 10 February 2019