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Australian Government Rushes In Legislation Allowing Refugees To Be Locked Up Forever

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Australian Government Rushes In Legislation Allowing Refugees To Be Locked Up Forever

The Australian government has been accused of 'rushing' in legislation to allow refugees be locked up in detention centres for the rest of their lives.

The Migration Amendment (Clarifying International Obligations for Removal) Bill 2021 specifically addresses the refugees who come to Australia because they fear they could be injured or killed in their home country.

The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) has taken issue with the way the piece of legislation has been crafted.

The advocacy group admits while there are some protections in the way that refugees won't be forced to return to their homes and potentially face persecution, it won't be smooth sailing in Australia.

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The HRLC said the new law lets the new Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews have addition powers to 'overturn refugee status', which would breach international law. They're allowed to do this in circumstances when they find someone is no longer technically a refugee.

Credit: National Press Club
Credit: National Press Club

The legislation also doesn't prevent the indefinite detention of refugees who can't go home, while also protecting the government from legal challenges in the future.

Essentially, the lifetime detention could stick because the government is prevented from sending them home, and they don't have to fast track their applications to live in Australia.

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Human Rights Law Centre Legal Director David Burke said in a statement:"The legislation exposes Minister Andrew's willingness to leave growing numbers of refugees languishing in detention without any plan.

"The government should not have the power to lock people up for potentially the rest of their lives without any safeguards.

"This forces refugees into an unthinkable choice between spending potentially decades in immigration detention, or agreeing to go back to a country where the Federal government recognises they will be persecuted. These new laws allow the Morrison government to warehouse people who have nowhere else to go.

"There is no justification to give the Minister a new power to cancel refugee status. The Minister should not be able to waive a pen and overturn the fundamental protection the government has given someone whose life is at risk. Refugee status should never be a day-by-day proposition.

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"Government decisions about who is detained, on what grounds and for how long, are matters that need more oversight, not less. We urgently need changes that do more than forcing people to choose between languishing in immigration detention or being forced back to harm."

To support the fight against racial injustice visit ladbible.com/unheard

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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