Refugee & Asylum Seeker Rights
The Asylum Seeker and Refugee Rights Unit was established in January 2015. Our vision is that Australia treats all people seeking asylum with decency and respect for their basic human rights while working constructively towards a safe, humane and orderly approach to forced displacement.
We work to achieve lasting systemic change and to mitigate the worst aspects of the current system in the interim. We do this by focussing on:
- Action beyond our borders - We target government and corporate action on Nauru and Manus Island and on the high seas - the sites of least transparency and greatest injustice;
- The worst excesses onshore - We also challenge the most acute human rights abuses onshore - arbitrary detention, secrecy, regressive legal changes and abuses in detention; and
- Advocating for humane policy alternatives - We are a principled and credible voice for a more humane, lawful and constructive policy approach. Our public advocacy helps establish the preconditions for lasting change.
Today the Human Rights Law Centre joined church groups, medical associations, academics and a coalition of organisations and community groups to call for all refugees and asylum seekers to be immediately evacuated from Nauru and Manus Island and brought to safety in Australia.
The future of the US refugee deal has again been thrown into doubt following reports that US President Donald Trump has called the agreement the ‘worst deal ever’.
Media reports suggest that US President Donald Trump has today told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that he will not quash the US refugee deal, but simple and important questions about the detail of the arrangements remain unanswered.
Executive orders signed by US President Donald Trump, imposing a four month freeze on all refugee resettlement to the US and drastically reducing America’s refugee intake thereafter, have exposed further holes in the Turnbull Government’s already uncertain refugee deal.
Executive orders expected to be signed by US President Donald Trump, which would reportedly impose a temporary ban on most refugees and suspend visas for people from many refugee producing countries, have cast further doubt on the Turnbull Government’s already shaky US refugee deal.
In less than three weeks, over 100 children just like Moubani will experience their first Christmas in safety and freedom. This time last year they were trapped behind detention centre fences and terrified of being sent back to Nauru.
The Human Rights Law Centre told the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee the proposed ‘lifetime ban’ for people who are living in our community, or who have been warehoused on Nauru or Manus Island is both cruel and unnecessary, and would permanently separate families.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, today condemned the Australian Government’s treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum, saying that Australia’s human rights record has been tarnished.
After three years the Australian Government has finally acknowledged that our offshore centres on Nauru and Manus Islands are unsustainable and that it needs to find a way forward. However, today’s announcement reveals it still hasn’t found one.
Human rights groups including the Human Rights Law Centre, GetUp, the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, the Refugee Council of Australia and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre respond to the Turnbull Government’s announcement of a refugee settlement deal.
The Human Rights Law Centre has condemned the Turnbull Government’s secretive deportation of a man from Australia to Nauru last night.
The Human Rights Law Centre has called on the Turnbull Government to urgently clarify whether or not its proposed ‘lifetime ban’ will apply to over 320 men, women and children who are already in the community after being brought back to Australia from Manus and Nauru, many of whom the HRLC represents.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning announced government plans to amend the Migration Act to permanently ban people seeking asylum in Australia by sea from ever being able to stay or from ever coming to Australia to visit loved ones.
Monday night’s Four Corners episode, The Forgotten Children: The young refugees stranded on Nauru, is further evidence that all people currently warehoused by the Australian government on Nauru and Manus must immediately be brought to safety in Australia.
Continuing violent attacks against refugees on Manus Island are further evidence that Australia’s offshore detention centres must close and that the innocent people held there for the last three years must be brought to safety in Australia.
The secrecy provisions of the 2015 Border Force Act have compromised Australians’ basic democratic rights and damaged Australia’s international standing, the Human Rights Law Centre told the United Nations overnight in a statement to the Human Rights Council.
Today’s announcement by the Australian government at the Obama Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis doesn’t address the future of around 2000 people currently languishing in offshore camps on Manus Island and Nauru said the Human Rights Law Centre, Getup and the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce.
Fleeing persecution, Nayser Ahmed was separated from his family en route to Australia. While they rebuild their lives in Sydney, he remains stuck on Manus Island. In this Fairfax produced video Daniel Webb speaks to The Age's Nick McKenzie about Nayser and his family and the situation for the men on Manus Island. Watch video here.
The Human Rights Law Centre and GetUp are launching a major campaign today featuring the stories of the men imprisoned on Manus Island and their families in Australia, calling on the government to allow the men be brought to safety in Australia to rebuild their lives.
The Australian Government’s offshore detention regime edged closer to collapse today as Wilson Security committed not to retender for any further offshore detention services when its current contract expires in 2017.
The Prime Minister of PNG, Peter O’Neil today announced that the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island is to be closed. While not committing to a specific date, O’Neil said in a statement that “Both Papua New Guinea and Australia are in agreement that the centre is to be closed.”
Violent attacks on refugees on Manus Island are further evidence that Australia’s offshore detention centres must close and the innocent people held there for the last three years must be brought to Australia.
The UN’s human rights chief, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed extreme concern about the serious allegations of violence, sexual assault, degrading treatment and self-harm contained in leaked incident reports from Australia’s offshore processing centre on Nauru.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has the power to examine the response of the Australian Government and its contractors to child sexual abuse on Nauru, according to legal advice released today.
Following today’s release of leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention centre on Nauru, a coalition of human rights and refugee organisations have called on the Australian Government to urgently bring the people seeking asylum to Australia.
Australia’s abusive offshore detention centres are sustained by a vast network of global banks and investment funds that are failing to meet their responsibility to respect human rights.
Australia is a multicultural success story and the contribution of refugees are a key part of that success. Australia has successfully accepted over 7 million migrants since 1945 including around 800,000 refugees and humanitarian entrants.
The Australian Government’s response overnight at the UN in Geneva to a major review of its human rights record has failed to address the serious concerns raised by the international community.
The global gay and lesbian community has been asked to help a gay refugee couple currently living in fear after the Australian Government’s punitive refugee policies have left them languishing on a tiny island where homosexuality is a crime.