Jul 22, 2005

Ian and Janey suffer from another DIMIA bungle


MEDIA RELEASE – Anthony Albanese MP

22 July 2005

Federal Member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese expressed his relief that 11 year old Ian Han Hwang and his 6 year old sister Janey of Stanmore Public School had been released from Villawood Detention Centre, but slammed the Immigration Department (DIMIA) for putting them there in the first place.

Mr Albanese said, “Ian and Janey’s case is yet another horrendous example of the culture of incompetence, unkindness and inhumanity embodied by the Howard Government’s Department of Immigration.”

“Innocent children should not be kept behind razor wire. Ian and Janey’s experiences have been highly traumatic, and highlight the inhumanity of John Howard’s immigration system.”

It appears an administrative error led to the forced removal of the two children from their Stanmore Public School classrooms on 8 March 2005 by Immigration officials. They were then locked up for more than four months behind barbed wire at Villawood Detention Centre.

Mr Albanese condemned DIMIA’s mishandling of the case as inexcusable, saying, “It is tragic that Ian and Janey have suffered the consequences of the Immigration Department’s incompetence.”

“All Australians should be outraged at the treatment Ian and Janey have received at the hands of DIMIA. Every Australian should be asking why it has taken over 4 months for DIMIA to realise its own mistake.”

Mr Albanese applauded Stanmore Public School’s Principal Fran Larkin, as well as the many staff, parents and children who have campaigned for Ian and Janey’s release over the past months.

Mr Albanese has repeatedly called for the release of all children from detention, and raised the case of Ian and Janey in Parliament on 30 May and 22 June this year. He also tabled a petition in Parliament, signed by over 300 people, asking for an immediate review of the practice which led to Ian and Janey’s removal.

Anthony with Young Lee (left) and Janey and Ian Han Hwang after their release from Villawood Detention Centre