1. Reaffirm Australia’s commitment to the Refugee Convention
It all starts with the Government publicly affirming its commitment to the letter and spirit of the Refugee Convention. In particular, we don’t want people turned back to likely persecution. Let’s show the world we still believe in taking a fair share of responsibility for the challenges of a global refugee crisis.
2. Urgently resettle refugees from Nauru and Manus Island
We’re urging the Government to publicly commit to a timeline for the resettlement of refugees from offshore processing centres.
Australia should take full responsibility for finding a safe and permanent solution. If it refuses to bring the refugees to Australia, it must ensure any third countries can provide:
- Access to healthcare and education
- Freedom of movement, including a guarantee that refugees won’t be kept in immigration detention
- Protection against refoulement (the forced return of asylum seekers to places where they may face persecution)
- Access to work rights
- Settlement services to help with the challenges of social integration
- Prospects for separated families to reunite
Each person deserves to have an individual assessment on whether a third country is appropriate for their particular vulnerabilities and circumstances. And the best interests of a child should always be the primary consideration in decisions that affect them.
3. Legislate to ensure children are never again harmed by mandatory and prolonged immigration detention
There’s international consensus that putting children in immigration detention is against their best interests and a violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
It’s time for the Government to introduce legislation to permanently end the immigration detention of children in Australia or in any other settings funded, facilitated or supported by the Australian Government. Let it never happen again.
4. Re-open pathways for resettlement of refugees from Indonesia
In 2014, Australia announced it would no longer accept refugees seeking resettlement from Indonesia if they arrived after 1 July that year.
The move was intended to deter asylum seekers from travelling to Indonesia but it’s now clear that, rather than ‘draining the pool’ of people in Indonesia, this policy has created a backlog. Children, families and other asylum seekers are stuck in limbo. In the absence of additional resettlement pathways, it’s unclear how the policy could have had any other result.
We’re joining with the UNHCR and the Indonesian Government in calling for Australia to immediately revoke its ban on the resettlement of refugees from Indonesia.
5. Reveal the true financial costs of Australia’s refugee policies
Years of secrecy have prevented the Australian public from making informed decisions on whether the Government’s harsh treatment of asylum seekers is a necessary or effective use of tax dollars.
The Government should commit to providing more transparent information on the true fiscal cost of Australia’s refugee policies, starting with a full audit of public expenditure since 2013.