No excuses for delaying safety for refugees

November 2, 2018

In response to reports that the Australian government will move to bring children from Nauru to Australia before the end of the year, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) says more needs to be done.

ALHR President Kerry Weste said, “Australia remains legally responsible for every person it sent to Nauru and Papua New Guinea, and this has now been recognised by Australian courts.”

“There are people who were sent to Nauru as children without any parents, and who are now 19 or 20 years old. These young people are no longer children but this does not mean they should be forgotten. They, like other people, are no less in need of access to healthcare and opportunities to build a safe and dignified life.”

“We should keep in mind that by definition, a refugee cannot simply return to his or her home country, they are at Australia’s mercy.”

“There is no need to wait for Christmas when we have every ability to fix the situation now with no need for new legislation.”

“ALHR calls upon community and political leaders to commit to ensuring safety and viable futures for every person Australia sent to Nauru and Papua New Guinea,” said Ms Weste.

 Contact: Matt Mitchell, ALHR media manager 0431 980 365.

ALHR was established in 1993 and is a national association of Australian solicitors, barristers, academics, judicial officers and law students who practise and promote international human rights law in Australia. ALHR has active and engaged National, State and Territory committees and specialist thematic committees. Through advocacy, media engagement, education, networking, research and training, ALHR promotes, practices and protects universally accepted standards of human rights throughout Australia and overseas.

 Any information provided in this release is not intended to constitute legal advice, to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice, or to cover all aspects of the matters referred to. You should take your own legal advice before applying any information provided in this email to specific issues or situations.