Human rights complaint to UN over Australian deportation

05 January 2007

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Stefan Nystrom, a 33 year old man who lived most of his life in Australia was deported recently to Sweden, where his mother was spending a holiday when he was born. He spent less than the first month of his life there.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone cancelled his residency on grounds that he was in court 21 times and convicted of 127 charges including violent offences and dishonesty.

In 2005, the Australian Federal Court reversed Vanstone's decision, deeming him "an absorbed person." He was ordered to be released, but Vanstone appealed and the High Court agreed in November 2006.

In response, a complaint was lodged with the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva on 22 December by the Human Rights Law Resource Centre which is based in Melbourne.

The complaint states that, because of his expulsion from Australia where he resided most of his life, Nystrom's human rights were violated under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Australia is a signatory.

It was only by chance that Nystrom was born in Sweden. While his mother was pregnant with Nystrom, she went to Sweden to introduce her young daughter to her parents but was delayed in taking a flight back home due to high blood pressure.

The complaint asks that his residency be reinstated and for him to be compensated.

Philip Lynch, Director of the Human Rights Law Resource Centre, said that "the deportation violated his right to enter his own country, Australia, and his right to family and to protection of his family." He also stated that his deportation amounted to a second punishment for the same offence.

A spokesman for the Immigration Department said it would review arrangements for future deportations.


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