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. 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.


Catch-22 for refugee

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.

 

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Afghanistan: seven steps the government should take NOW

The news coming out of Afghanistan in the wake of the military withdrawal is as disturbing as it was tragically predictable. 

NSWCCL is joining with the Refugee Council of Australia and others to call on the Government to take seven steps immediately:

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Translators in Afghanistan: the Government must act now

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.

 

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NSWCCL calls on DFAT to retract Sri Lanka report

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.

DFAT's country report was criticised recently (27 May) by a UK Upper Tribunal, along with a similar UK report, which the UK Home Office removed the next day (28 May) as it was 'out of date'.

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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.

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Refugee week: five steps the Government should take

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.

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Family separation and the character test

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.   

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UNHCR slams Australia's approach

Senate inquiry, which started in February, is examining the processing of family and partner reunion visas over concerns the system is being plagued by lengthy waiting times and exorbitant costs.

In a submission to this enquiry, The UNHCR slammed Australia and specifically pointed to the disproportionate impact of these challenges on refugees trying to bring family into Australia.

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New direction puts vulnerable refugees at risk

A new Direction from the Minister for Immigration, governing how decision-makers must approach visa refusal and cancellation, creates serious risks for vulnerable people. Refugees could see their visas cancelled relying on Family Violence Orders that are then found to be unsubstantiated; minor children are at risk of being separated from their parents; and survivors of family violence may be deterred from seeking assistance.

The NSWCCL calls for the immediate replacement of Direction 90.

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Urgent request: “legacy caseload” refugees

NSWCCL is asking its members, as a matter of urgency, to contact the Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews, and/or the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke, asking for more time for members of the legacy caseload to submit updated applications for asylum, before their cases are heard.  

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