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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Girls' Hidden Agony

From July 16, 2009 Ben Packham AFRICAN immigrant girls are increasingly being forced by their families to have barbaric female genital mutilation, Immigration Minister Chris Evans has been warned. The minister has been told the painful ritual is almost certainly being practised here, and some girls may have been flown to Africa for the disfiguring procedure. Senator Evans received briefings "to respond to concerns that (mutilation) is increasingly being practised on permanent residents/Australian citizens". But community liaison officers said it was difficult to know how widespread it was. Concerns have also been raised with the minister over growing levels of domestic violence in African communities, particularly against Sudanese women. "One possible explanation for this is that women no longer have the protection of their extended families as they would have in their home countries," he was told. AN error in the controversial citizenship test has wrongly denied 21 people the right to become Australian. The error caused dozens of applicants to fail, but some resat the test and passed. The faulty question was in the pool of compulsory questions, of which four are asked in each test. Applicants were asked: "Who has the right to seek employment in the defence force and the police force in Australia?" The answer to the question -- that Australian residents could apply for both, pending citizenship, was wrong. In fact, the requirements of police forces vary in each state. The error went undetected from the introduction of the test in September 2007 until July last year. An Immigration Department spokesman said legal advice obtained from the Attorney-General's office was to let the results stand. Immigration Minister Chris Evans said: "A new and more relevant test will be in place within the coming months."