Vanuatu: Vanuatu journalist separated from family; denied return home

A week after Vanuatu’s Daily Post media director had an annual work permit rejected and his residence visa cancelled, he has now been denied the ability to return to Vanuatu. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses it’s serious disappointment at the Vanuatu government’s handling of McGarry’s case and urgently call on it to enable the editor to be re-united with his family.

Dan McGarry Credit: Dan McGarry

Dan McGarry attempted to board a flight from Brisbane to Port Vila on November 17, but was advised by Virgin Australia staff that Vanuatu Immigration had issued a notice barring the airline from allowing him to board the plane. McGarry lawfully left Vanuatu last week to travel to Brisbane. According to McGarry’s lawyer, there is no legal reason for him to not be allowed to return to Vanuatu as a visitor.

McGarry says he has made multiple attempts to contact Vanuatu Immigration since departing the country without success. He has also been unable to obtain any evidence of Vanuatu Immigration’s communication to the airline.

Prior to travelling to Brisbane, on November 7, the Labour Commission Muriel Meltenoven rejected McGarry’s annual work permit renewal and cancelled his residence visa. The Vanuatu government continues to defend its decision as “administrative”.

McGarry has lived and worked in Vanuatu for over 16 years and worked for the Daily Post for the past four years. He also has a family based in Vanuatu. McGarry has a strong journalist voice in Vanuatu. He most recently undertook an investigation to expose a series of stories about Vanuatu enforcing Chinese law to deport six Chinese nationals to China, without a trial or legal counsel. Four of whom were Vanuatu citizens.

The IFJ said: “We condemn the ongoing persecution of a strident editor by Vanuatu’s authorities in the denial of his work permit and residency. To take actions further, the separation of Dan McGarry from his family is unconscionable. We again urge the Vanuatu government to immediately review this case and allow McGarry to return home.”





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