What ‘border’ is the Australian Border Force patrolling?

No longer does the ‘border’ correlate with lines on a map. The last few decades have seen nation states progressively extend the concept of ‘borders’ and ‘border control’ far beyond the boundaries their territory.

The Australian Border Force’s ‘Who we are‘ page makes this explicit clear:

We consider the border not to be a purely physical barrier separating nation states, but a complex continuum stretching offshore and onshore, including the overseas, maritime, physical border and domestic dimensions of the border.

Treating the border as a continuum allows an integrated, layered approach to provide border management in depth— working ahead of and behind the border, as well as at the border, to manage threats and take advantage of opportunities.
By applying an intelligence-led model and working with our partner agencies across the border continuum, we deliver effective border control over who and what has the right to enter or exit, and under what conditions.

This refreshingly honest definition lies at the heart of my research. What laws apply when countries operate beyond the confines of their territory? Who maintains responsibility for these operations? And how can we hold governments accountable for human rights violations that take place extraterritoriality?

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