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Bridging Visas Create Unjust Situations
By : Kristen Hobby
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Views : 1358
Etienne, Adolph, Matinse and Papy (affectionately known as the Congo Boys) arrived in Australia five years ago from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Congo they were musicians, playing for the president. Unfortunately, President Laurent-Desire Kabila was assassinated in 2001, and the four suddenly found themselves a target of the newly installed leaders. They fled, first to Kenya, then to Malaysia, and then to Australia. Upon arrival in Australia they applied for asylum on the ground that they would be persecuted if they ever returned to Congo. Only one of the four spoke English and through the use of interpreters, the Department of Immigration (DIMIA) found “inconsistencies” in their stories. They were then denied asylum. For the first two years they were supported by Urban Neighbours of Hope (UNOH) and then by the Knoxfield (Vic) Church of Christ. Over the past five years the four have gone through every possible avenue, appealed at every level including the Refugee Review Tribunal and even the High Court. Together with support of UNOH and Knoxfield COC they applied directly to the Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone.

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