: Asylum seeker policies fail to safeguard basic human rights

Asylum seeker policies fail to safeguard basic human rights

Daniel Webb
Human Rights

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has concluded that Australia’s offshore processing laws do not comply with fundamental human rights principles. The Committee conducted an inquiry into various aspects of the current offshore processing regime following requests from a number of human rights and refugee advocates. In its report, the Committee found that the government failed to demonstrate Australia’s current asylum seeker policies uphold fundamental human protections in key human rights treaties.

See — http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/senate_committees?url=humanrights_ctte/reports/2013/9_2013/index.htm.

The Committee was particularly concerned by the human rights implications of the ‘no-advantage’ policy, the central pillar of the government’s current approach to asylum seekers. The Committee also refuted persistent claims by the government that Australia is not responsible under international law for human rights violations experienced by asylum seekers transferred offshore. The Committee recognised the importance of exploring all reasonable options to reduce the loss of life at sea, but concludes that the current polices unreasonably and disproportionately limit fundamental human rights.

The Committee launched the inquiry after the government failed to provide statements examining the human rights implications of various aspects of its reforms.

DANIEL WEBB, Human Rights Law Centre, Melbourne.

(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 190
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