Migration and Maritime Powers (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill incompatible with Australia’s international human rights obligations

November 16, 2014

In a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 (attached below), ALHR has found aspects of the Bill incompatible with Australia’s international human rights obligations.

ALHR recommends that the Bill not be passed.

At a time when, more than ever, people require the protection of other States from the persecutory actions of their own and the increasing barbarity of non-state actors, ALHR believes that this Bill represents a low water-mark in Australia’s standing as a nation which takes human rights obligations seriously and which heeds the call to protect and assist those in need.

ALHR’s submission does not address all of ALHR’s concerns about the Bill or all of the potential threats that the Bill poses to human rights.  ALHR has instead focused its submission on four key areas in which the Bill seeks to change current Australian refugee law which ALHR submits are clearly in contravention of Australia’s international human rights obligations.

These four areas are: (1) increased powers to detain people at sea and transfer them to any country; (2) the introduction of temporary forms of protection including temporary protection visas and safe haven enterprise visas; (3) the establishment of a fast-track assessment process of refugee claims; and (4) the introduction of a new domestic interpretation of Australia’s refugee obligations that contravenes international refugee law and existing Australian jurisprudence on refugee law.

ALHR Submission on Migration and Maritime Powers Bill (31 October 2014)