Proposed amendments to the Migration Act would significantly increase the risk of people being returned to persecution, the HRLC has said in a submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee.
HRLC Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, explained that a person is currently eligible for Australia’s protection under these treaties if there is a “real risk” they’ll face significant harm on return. The changes would raise that threshold to “more likely than not” – that is, a probability of greater than 50%.
The proposed reforms also require protection visas to be denied to asylum seekers who have refused or failed to establish their identity, nationality or citizenship or provided ‘bogus’ identity documents. The HRLC submission says such reforms overlook the nature of flight from persecution.
The HRLC’s submission made the following recommendations:
- that the existing threshold for complementary protection be retained;
- the proposed new sections requiring visas to be denied to asylum seekers who have failed to establish their identity, nationality or citizenship or provided ‘bogus’ documents be removed from the Bill; and
- the proposed new section imposing a legal burden of proof on asylum seeker to prove their claims be removed from the Bill.