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
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Advocacy groups condemn asylum MoU

Advocacy groups condemn asylum MoU

Numerous human rights advocacy groups have backed a public statement issued by the Edmund Rice Centre (ERC) condemning Australia's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Afghanistan in regards…

Numerous human rights advocacy groups have backed a public statement issued by the Edmund Rice Centre (ERC) condemning Australia's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Afghanistan in regards to asylum seekers.

The Melbourne-based advocacy centre, along with more than 80 high-profile institutional and individual endorsers, has expressed "grave concern" about the effects of the MoU, which was signed between the governments of Australia and Afghanistan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees last month.

The MoU permits the involuntary repatriation from Australia of unsuccessful Afghan asylum seekers, including children and unaccompanied minors.

"Afghanistan is a country mired in decades of civil war and ethnic unrest that has resulted in thousands of deaths over 30 years," reads the statement.

"It is not safe. There are no indications that the violence and security threats are reducing."

Of particular concern to the ERC is the fact that many Afghan asylum seekers in Australia are members of the Hazara ethnic minority which, according to the ERC, has been subject to discrimination for decades.

"There is no reason to believe that the ethnic and sectarian factors, fuelling hostility against them, have dissipated," says the statement.

Rachael Ball, the director of policy and campaigns at the Human Rights Law Resource Centre (HRLRC), which endorsed the statement, told Lawyers Weekly the HRLRC decided to endorse the statement because of serious concerns about the continuing instability and insecurity in Afghanistan, and indications that the humanitarian situation is likely to worsen in the coming year.

"There are currently gaps in Australian law when it comes to our human rights obligations to protect people from returning to a country where they would face risk of torture and other serious human rights violations," she said.

"The Refugee Convention will protect some people, but not all people who face those risks."

And while the government has tabled complimentary protection laws in parliament - which would mean that compelling humanitarian needs and other non-reforma obligations would have to be considered before sending unsuccessful asylum seekers back into a potentially dangerous situation - Ball points out that those laws are still under review.

"The MoU refers to the government's complimentary protection obligations [in section 3(a)], but those obligations aren't currently entrenched in Australian law," she said.

"We've seen numerous examples of instances where, under the existing framework, people have been returned to face fear and persecution and, in some cases, death."

Other endorsers of the statement include Julian Burnside QC, the International Commission of Jurists Australia and the Refugee Council of Australia.

Claire Chaffey

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

Advocacy groups condemn asylum MoU
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...