Asylum seekers and refugees

Australia’s current asylum seekers policies and practices are a gross breach of human rights and decency. CCL gives very high priority to helping bring about fundamental reform to these policies. Current priorities are advocacy for an end to indefinite detention of refugees resulting from ASIO adverse security assessments, clear policy separation of ‘border security’ and ‘national security’ and an update of CCL policy in response to the latest Australian Government policies and practices




NSWCCL welcomes A-G's commitment to release children from immigration detention

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties welcomes the Attorney-General’s announcement tonight, on International Human Rights Day, that all children in immigration detention, including those held on Christmas Island, will be released into the community within the next 2 or 3 months.

This announcement shows the government is listening to the Australian community.  The community rejects punitive treatment of asylum seeker children. 

The number of children in immigration detention should be zero.

The 2014 winner of the Human Rights Medal, Dorothy Hoddinott AO, shows what can be achieved when we treat children with dignity.    

Let’s hope that there will be more positive announcements from the government in relation to asylum seekers that shows that Australia is truly are a country of compassion, fairness and human rights.

Update: Sadly it has become clear that the Attorney-General was referring to the release of ONLY the children on Christmas Island. All others will remain in detention.  Also doubts have also been raised as to whether the Christmas Island children will be released into the community when they arrive in Australia. The Attorney should clarify this immediately. Seems we still have a way to go before the number of children in immigration detention is zero.

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NSWCCL condemns the proposed amendments to the Migration Act

NSWCCL's submission into the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014, condemns the proposed amendments to the Legislation, as it is clear the changes intend to punish those who seek asylum from persecution, and who arrive in Australia by boat. In doing so, this Bill perpetuates the myth that asylum seekers who arrive by boat are ‘illegal’ and have no legal right to seek asylum.

Moreover the CCL condemns the amendments which suspend the rules of natural justice as they apply in the Maritime Powers Act. Such suspension removes the possibility of oversight by the judiciary, limiting the challenges to keep the actions of government in check, particularly with respect to the implementation of punitive policies on asylum seekers and refugees.

Click here for the submission

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Submission to the Senate inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Character and Visa Cancellation) Bill 2014

NSWCCL has made a submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Australian Senate concerning the Migration Amendment (Character and Visa Cancellation) Bill 2014. The main points of the submission are that:

  • The procedure for applying the character test should be taken out of the hands of the minster and his or her delegates and given instead to a new, genuinely independent body. There should be an appeal on the merits on leave to the Federal Magistrate’s Court. 
  • The various proposals to allow the minister to override the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) should be rejected. 
  • The proposals to prevent an appeal to the AAT and other tribunals concerning decisions of the minister should be rejected, and replaced by entitlements to appeal. 
  • Where convictions by foreign courts bear on the character test, provisions should ensure that only convictions for actions that would be criminal and subject to similar penalties in Australia may count. Furthermore, only convictions where the court procedures and standards of proof adopted are up to Australian standards should be accepted. 
  • The whole bill is so full of faults and poor proposals it should be rejected.

Read the full submission

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Out of sight, out of mind - amnesty panel addressed by NSWCCL

Amnesty invited a panel of experts to the Wesley Theatre on 7 May 14 to address two important questions:

What is the impact of Australia’s current approach on asylum seekers? and

What are the legal implications on an international scale? And what could we be doing instead?

Jo Murphy from the NSWCCL addressed the effect of the punitive government policies on the rights and lives of the 40,000 odd asylum seekers currently living in the Australian community.

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PNG 'solution' contrary to Australia's international obligations

The NSWCCL firmly opposes the Labor government’s PNG regional re-settlement agreement.

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Submission in relation to the Inquiry into the Migration and Security Legislation Amendment (Review of Security Assessments) Bill 2012 - December 2012

NSWCCL has made a submission in relation to the Inquiry into the Migration and Security Legislation
Amendment (Review of Security Assessments) Bill 2012.

NSWCCL respectfully submits that:

  • The Bill should clearly provide that detention of citizens and non-citizens alike should not be permissible solely on the basis of being issued an adverse security assessment.
  • A statement of reasons for an adverse security assessment is rendered ineffective without an acceptable avenue for appeal and an explicit minimum degree of content.
  • Merits review by way of expansion of the jurisdiction of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is strongly preferable to the Independent Reviewer scheme.
  • The Special Advocate model as proposed in this Bill requires expansion in order to facilitate procedural fairness.
  • NSWCCL supports the provisions in the Bill for regular review of assessments on a prescribed basis, in order to ensure Australia complies with international human rights obligations.
  • A notable decrease in ASIO’s disclosure reflects a lack of transparency and accountability, both of which are required from an organisation acting in the interest of national security. The Bill should mandate a minimum level of ASIO reporting.

Click here for the submission

 

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NSWCCL vehemently opposes excising Australia from the Migration Zone

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties has lodged with the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee a submission vehemently opposing the Migration Amendment (Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals and Other Measures) Bill.

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Submission in relation to the Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals and Other Measures) Bill 2012 - December 2012

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties has lodged with the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee a submission vehemently opposing the Migration Amendment (Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals and Other Measures) Bill.

NSWCCL respectfully submits that:

  1. The Bill should clearly provide that detention of citizens and non-citizens alike should not be permissible solely on the basis of being issued an adverse security assessment.
  2. A statement of reasons for an adverse security assessment is rendered ineffective without an acceptable avenue for appeal and an explicit minimum degree of content.
  3. Merits review by way of expansion of the jurisdiction of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is strongly preferable to the Independent Reviewer scheme.
  4. The Special Advocate model as proposed in this Bill requires expansion in order to facilitate procedural fairness.
  5. NSWCCL supports the provisions in the Bill for regular review of assessments on a prescribed basis, in order to ensure Australia complies with international human rights obligations.
  6. A notable decrease in ASIO’s disclosure reflects a lack of transparency and accountability, both of which are required from an organisation acting in the interest of national security. The Bill should mandate a minimum level of ASIO reporting.

Click here for the submission

Click here for the media release regarding this submission

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An Open Letter to the Attorney General regarding adverse ASIO Security Assessments - January 2012

NSWCCL and Liberty Victoria have written an Open Letter to the Attorney General regarding adverse ASIO Security Assessments.

There are currently over 50 people in immigration detention in Australia who have been found to be refugees but have received adverse security assessments from the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

Refugees who are adversely assessed by ASIO are not allowed to know the evidence or the reasoning which underpin the assessment. They have no right to know of or respond to any evidence or allegations taken into account against them

It is fundamental to our democratic system that a person should not face indefinite detention without being allowed to know why, and without the ability to challenge the factual basis and discretionary considerations which are said to support it.

Read the full letter here

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Submission in relation to the Inquiry into Australia’s Immigration Detention Network - October 2011

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