Refugee Council of Australia’s research has shown refugees are being denied their right to citizenship, even after meeting all the requirements set by Government, seemingly because of the mode in which they arrived in Australia. Lead Researcher, Asher Hirsch, talks to the ABC about what appears to be a discriminatory practice, although not an official policy.
The Nauruan government announced earlier this week that it will remove the remaining restrictions on the liberty of the asylum seekers detained there, and process all pending claims for asylum. It initially said it would process the claims in a week, but has since backtracked from that commitment.
Many have claimed that the announcement is a strategic move to undermine a constitutional challenge to Australia’s offshore detention regime, heard by the High Court this week – although the Australian government has denied this. So does the policy change spell the end of the challenge?
While that question can only be answered after the High Court’s decision, the hearings give a hint. The short answer is that the Nauruan government’s announcements have already had a much greater effect in the High Court than on Nauru itself. Continue reading →
This article was originally published on Right Now.
Australia’s asylum policies are not just inhumane, cruel and a violation of international law, they are also ridiculously expensive.
An analysis of last year’s budget found that in the 2014-15 financial year, the Australian Government spent $2.91 billion on detention and compliance-related programs for asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat. This includes $912 million spent on detaining people in unsanitary, cramped and deadly offshore detention centres.
It has been welldocumented that the intervention of the Australian Federal Police played a central role in the arrest of the Bali Nine in Indonesia in 2005, ultimately leading to the execution by firing squad of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran on 29 April 2015. Without the information provided by the AFP – apparently on its own initiative, without a request from Indonesia – the Bali Nine would not have been arrested in Indonesia for their role in attempting to smuggle 8kg of heroin into Australia.
In the days since the executions, much has been made of the changes to the AFP’s guidelines on international co-operation made in 2009, ostensibly to prevent such a travesty occurring again, and the changes made to the Ministerial Direction to the AFP in May 2014, which removed any reference to the death penalty as a reason for withholding cooperation with…
In this age of globalisation, states have attempted to restrict access to asylum through a range of extraterritorial measures that prevent asylum seekers from reaching territorial borders in order to claim asylum. As Gammeltoft-Hansen notes, ‘the last decades have seen a number of policy developments to extend migration control well beyond the borders of the state.’ These measures include carrier controls that place financial penalties on airlines that carry those without a visa, visa and immigration regulations, the use of immigration officers in foreign countries, safe third country arrangements, physical barriers, disruption activities and extraterritorial interception beyond maritime borders.
It will be shown that while the non-refoulement obligation prevents states from returning people to persecution, torture or inhumane treatment, there is nothing in the Refugees Convention that prohibits states from preventing asylum seekers from entering their territory. As such, a customary international norm is needed in order to protect the right to seek asylum. Through an analysis of current law, state practice and opinio juris, it will be clear that the right to seek asylum has crystallised into a customary international law. Indeed, the significant state practice of admitting and processing asylum seekers, combined with treaty law and declarations of the United Nations General Assembly, cement this right under international law.
States have increasingly attempted to limit the number of people who enter their jurisdiction in order to apply for asylum. Australia leads international practice in the extra-territorialisation of migration control and the increase of border securitisation. In this age of globalisation, many asylum-receiving states have attempted to restrict access to asylum through a range of extraterritorial measures that effectively prevent asylum seekers from reaching territorial borders. As Gammeltoft-Hansen notes, ‘the last decades have seen a number of policy developments to extend migration control well beyond the borders of the state.’ These measures include carrier controls that place financial penalties on airlines that carry those without a visa, visa and immigration regulations, the use of immigration officers in foreign countries, safe third country arrangements, and extraterritorial interception beyond maritime borders. However, rather than regulating migration, these policies have forced those who seek protection to use irregular and unauthorised pathways to find safety. Those who are feeling persecution and conflicts will always be willing to bypass regular channels and risk their lives on dangerous journeys in order to find safety. While worldwide displacement figures have skyrocketed to more than 51 million people, worldwide asylum channels have decreased. As such, in world with increasing demand and shrinking protection, the use irregular migration pathways becomes more sought after than ever.