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. We prioritise advocacy for the restoration of Australia’s commitment to respect and fulfil our international human rights obligations, especially in relation to the Convention for the Security of Refugees, which the Australian Government has so shamefully repudiated in law and in practice.
Specific priorities include the reinstatement of a pathway to permanent visas; an end to indefinite detention of refugees resulting from ASIO adverse security assessments; clear policy separation of ‘border security’; and ‘national security’; visa cancellations and an ongoing update of CCL policy in response to the latest Australian Government policies and practices.
CCL has been concerned about the treatment in Immigration Detention Centres, and particularly in Villawood, of detainees who are put into quarantine for fourteen days when they return from medical or dental appointments outside of the centres.
Now The Saturday Paper reports that a detainee who was identified as a contact of a guard at Villawood who contracted COVID-19 has similarly been put into isolation in a room with no view outside and minimal furniture. Even worse, this time the light has been left on all night. This, as he complains, is a recognised form of torture.Read more
In the light of news that at least one guard has tested positive, NSWCCL is renewing its calls for refugees to be released from detention immediately.
Last week news broke that a guard at the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA), had tested positive for COVID-19 — the Delta variant. MITA is one of the larger detention centres for asylum seekers and non-citizens who have had their visas cancelled under the character test provisions of the Migration Act.Read more
NSWCCL is increasingly concerned about the impact on detainees in our immigration detention facilities of current quarantine arrangements. In particular, the treatment of people who return to detention centres after medical appointments is unacceptable.
- They are confined in small rooms for a fortnight.
- There is nothing in the room except a bed, an open toilet and a wash basin.
- The windows are tinted, so detainees cannot see out.
- There is no access to personal possessions.
- No reading material is available - not even a Bible, Torah or Koran.
- There's no exercise outside of the room.
- A change of under clothes may not be available for several days.
- There is a buzzer to call for attention, but people may have to wait for a lengthy period for a response.
According to coverage by the Guardian, a refugee who has lived in Bris for a decade, with permanent residency, was given five days to respond to notice of intent to cancel his visa. The issue? He was required to document his identity for his citizenship application, but there's no reliable way to do so.
We have written to the Minister for Immigration, Alex Hawke, for clarification - we hope to hear that the man's citizenship application has been accepted.
The news coming out of Afghanistan in the wake of the military withdrawal is as disturbing as it was tragically predictable.Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties wrote to Senator Marise Payne today calling for urgent action to rescue people employed by Australia in Afghanistan now, without long delays checking on health, security and character.
Comments from our Government that those working through subcontractors are not eligible, or that the Government is following rules drawn up by the previous Labour government, are deeply disturbing.
It's time for action, not political point scoring.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties is calling DFAT to withdraw its 2019 Country Information Report - Sri Lanka, relied on to refuse protection to Tamils including the Murugappan family, due to concerns over its currency and accuracy.Read more
Submission: The Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020
NSWCCL has made a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security's Review of the Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020.
If passed, this bill would cripple the ability of litigants to have access to information that is critical for their cases for retaining a visa, becoming citizens or retaining their citizenship. While it protects the constitutionally guaranteed powers of the High Court, the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court to know whatever information is relevant to their reviews of ministerial decisions, it would prevent other courts and other bodies from having such access. And vitally, it not only would allow protected information to be concealed from litigants and their counsel, it would allow them to be denied even the information that such information exists. In effect, only the Minister could use the information in court. This is unacceptable. It is contrary to Australia’s international obligations. But most importantly, it is a severe intrusion on the rights of a person to a fair hearing. It overturns the basic legal principle of equality before the law.Read more
Refugee Week 2021: Australia is watching the unfolding fate of the Biloela family, leading us to reflect on the harm that our Government has caused - and continues to cause - to vulnerable people.
Ironically, refugee week began in Australia in 1986 before spreading to other countries. Fast forward 35 years and we have the dubious distinction of years of international condemnation for our illegal detention of asylum seekers and refugees.
Compounding this, we routinely separate families; our family reunification processes have been labelled 'discriminatory' by the UN; and advocates say refugees are being overlooked in our vaccine rollout.Read more
The criminal justice system may impose a sentence of imprisonment on a person. While the person’s family is affected in obvious ways by this, once the sentence is served, the family member returns home. There is no family separation beyond the sentence. But where the person is not an Australian citizen but is here on a visa, even a permanent residence visa, they may be held to have failed the character test under section 501 of the Migration Act, and have their visa cancelled. They are at once put in immigration detention. Between July 2018 and December 2020 there were 2,517 such cancellations.Read more