Treatment of refugees ‘breaks international law’

Australia is violating many of its international obligations, according to a new report (Flickr/FreedomHouse)

The Government needs to take several steps to see Australia’s refugee policy comply with its international obligations, a leading research centre on international refugee law has found. Source: SBS News.

The University of NSW’s Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law yesterday released a “non-partisan, fact-backed refugee policy agenda” that outlines how Australia can develop a more sustainable and humane approach to refugees.

Director of the centre Jane McAdam said Australia was breaking international law in its approach to refugees.

“Australia is violating many of our international obligations and it is really out of step with what other comparable countries are doing,” Professor McAdam said.

“Every person has a right to seek asylum. As a matter of international law people who come here in search of protection have not broken the law. Australia is actually breaking the law by not offering people protection when they are in need of it.”

The report coincides with Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin calling on the Government to remove the remaining asylum seekers from Manus Island, according to ABC News, amid an unprecedented spike in suicide attempts and self-harm following the federal election.

In the wake of this news, Professor McAdam said the principles have been released at a time when a long-term vision for Australian refugee policy is desperately needed.

“When offshore processing was re-introduced no thought was given to how it would ever end,” she said.

“And so after six years, there are still refugees sorely in need of international protection that simply don’t have an answer. What our principles seek to do is to show a pragmatic as well as a principled way forward.”

The document, launched by UNSW Chancellor David Gonski AC last night, drew on the refugee policies in other countries and Australia’s own past to develop seven key priorities.


Australia’s refugee policy is out of step with global standards and breaks international law: report (SBS News

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