find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Real Estate & Projects Lawyer (6+ years PAE)
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Top tier firm with offices nationally · High profile clients
View details
Politics confounding asylum issues

Politics confounding asylum issues

Election 2010: Australia's major political parties are blurring the lines between the legality of

Election 2010: Australia's major political parties are blurring the lines between the legality of claiming asylum and the illegality of people smuggling, according to the NSW Young Lawyers.

In a statement released today (12 August), the NSWYL called on both the ALP and the Coalition to reaffirm their commitment to international conventions ratified by Australia in relation to refugees and asylum seekers - particularly the 1951 Refugee Convention and its protocol - in order to properly respect and recognise the human right to claim asylum from persecution.

"Seeking asylum or applying for refugee status in Australia is not a crime and the rights of refugees are protected by international obligations, which apply to Australia," said Diane Barker, Chair of the NSWYL International Law Committee.

"It is of significant concern that both major political parties' campaigns are focused upon how best to stem the flow of perceived 'illegal boat people'.

"The erroneous perception that asylum seekers, and those applying for refugee status in Australia, have entered the country illegally ignores the status of refugees under international law. The political rhetoric is presently devoid of any consideration of Australia's obligations towards refugees and asylum seekers under international law," Barker added.

The president of NSWYL, Pouyan Afshar, also expressed concern at political misrepresentation of the issue, and implored Australia's leaders to simply do what is right.

"We are concerned by the conflation of the treatment of asylum seekers and the punishment of people smugglers. These are two different issues," he said.

"Whilst we support appropriate punitive measures towards people smugglers, we do not support policies that punish refugees, who are themselves victims not only of persecution but also of the smugglers. Any policy that has that effect is inherently unfair and in contrast to the values of fairness and justice, which are values we are committed to uphold."

Afshar commented further:

"Refugees are simply people who are escaping persecution from some of the most terrible places in the world. It is incumbent upon our political leaders that, when legal and bureaucratic machineries of government are concerned, people are treated with the same degree of fairness and equity that we have come to expect from our legal system."

NSWYL also condemned proposals to curtail asylum seekers' access to legal representation in Australia, and proposals to use regional processing centres in countries which are not signatories to the Convention, thus exposing refugees to substandard determination processes, inadequate legal protections and rights of appeal, and ultimately, denial of natural justice.

"Denying one of the most vulnerable groups the chance of being legally represented, and to be able to understand their legal rights fully and without limitation, by a trained lawyer in any circumstance is wholly contrary to their right to justice," said Carolina Soto, Chair of the NSWYL Human Rights Committee.

>> What do election promises mean for lawyers? Click here to read the latest legal-related election news

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Politics confounding asylum issues
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
Applauds
Aug 21 2017
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...