Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Australia appeals to 'missing' African athletes to give themselves up

Australia appeals to 'missing' African athletes to give themselves up Australia appeals to 'missing' African athletes to give themselves up
Sidney Guerrero | 16 May, 2018, 21:53

They arrived in Sydney less than 24 hours before their visas expired to leave Australia, or risk detention or deportation.

Several African athletes escaped from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, a lot of them from Cameroon.

The missing athletes include five boxers and three wrestlers from Cameroon, two athletes from Uganda and a Rwandan Paralympic powerlifting coach.

Now they have surfaced in Sydney, and according to the Daily Telegraph, are working with the Refugee Advice and Casework Service in Randwick.

But Ms Dale, who was unable to give precise numbers due to privacy issues, said it was more than 19.

Those who are removed may face a three-year re-entry ban and could be forced to foot the bill for their removal, it said.

"The men, women and families who are recognised as needing protection in Australia are allowed to remain only after a complex and hard process".

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"For many, this process would not be fair or efficient without Racs' vital legal assistance. With none of this work funded by government in 2018, we rely on our volunteers, partners and supporters to make sure people who seek asylum have an opportunity to live a life in safety".

"I know some of them have already had interviews with immigration", said David Addington, the chairman of Sydney's Northern Beaches Refugee Sanctuary.

"I would not suggest that there was a group of people that had decided "let's compete in the Commonwealth Games to get to Australia", she said.

The Sierra Leone athletes were among 40 who absconded from the Melbourne Games.

"But if people have breached their visa conditions - like anyone else, they're expected to operate within the law, and enforcement action will take place to identify those people and to deport them if they don't self-declare".

Cameroon's Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou waves to the crowd during the women's 69kg weightlifting final. "We don't have any vested interest in the outcomes", Lumsdaine said.

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