New Evidence on Refugee Status Determination in Australia, 1978–1983

Bibliography File Note.

Type
Journal Article

Author
Claire Higgins

URL
http://ift.tt/2uRXynB

Volume
35

Issue
3

Pages
71-93

Publication
Refugee Survey Quarterly

ISSN
1020-4067

Date
2016/09/01

Journal Abbr
Refugee Survey Quarterly

DOI
10.1093/rsq/hdw008

Library Catalog
academic-oup-com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au

Abstract
Each year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees publishes detailed information on refugee applications and determinations by States Parties to the Refugee Convention. However, there are noticeable gaps in the utility and availability of these figures across jurisdictions prior to the mid-1990s, particularly with respect to Australia. This has limited our understanding of how refugee status determination functioned in Australia during the formative years of its modern refugee policy, from 1977 to the early 1980s, and it leaves researchers with little knowledge of the number and provenance of asylum-seekers coming to Australia during this time. The present article contributes to a body of literature that gauges possible political influences on the determination of protection claims. This article reveals previously unpublished data on protection claims in Australia between 1978 and 1983 under Australia’s first formal refugee status determination procedure, the interdepartmental Determination of Refugee Status Committee. The article shows that at times there was some discrepancy between the views of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Department of Foreign Affairs on conditions in countries of origin. Information supplied by the Department of Foreign Affairs informed Determination of Refugee Status Committee deliberations, and there is evidence to suggest that at times there were issues with the quality and objectivity of this information. Finally, there is evidence that on a very small number of occasions external political and strategic interests informed deliberations.

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