ALHR Submission on Australia to the 53rd Session of the UN Committee Against Torture

October 20, 2014


ALHR has made a submission (below) UN Committee Against Torture as part of its fifth periodic review of Australia during its 53rd session from 3-28 November 2014.

ALHR’s submission solely addresses issues concerning Australia’s policies, laws and practices on asylum seekers and refugees and, in particular, how Australia’s current policies, laws and practices contravene its obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT).

As part of ALHR’s 2014 strategic plan, ALHR identified Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees as a priority area. Since Australia’s last periodic review before the CAT in 2008, ALHR holds the view that the harm, and potential harm, to asylum seekers and refugees resulting from Australia’s current laws, policies and practice has worsened. It is largely for this reason that ALHR has identified Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees as a priority area for action. Urgent reform is needed if Australia is to fulfill its obligations under the UNCAT and other international human rights treaties.

In opting to provide a submission to the CAT focused on asylum seekers and refugees, ALHR does not intend to imply that this is the only issue of concern regarding Australia’s fulfillment of its obligations under the UNCAT or that asylum seekers and refugees is necessarily the most important issue. There are several other areas in relation to which Australia is falling foul of its obligations under the UNCAT and, in this respect, ALHR endorses the ‘NGO Submission to the UN Committee Against Torture’ authored principally by the Human Rights Law Centre.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this submission, please contact Claire Hammerton, ALHR Refugee Sub-Committee Coordinator on