Australian Court rules refugee processing violates "procedural fairness"

[TamilNet, Friday, 12 November 2010, 03:06 GMT]
High Court of Australia, in a landmark ruling said that the Australian Government's attempt to keep "unlawful non-citizens" in prolonged detention in Christmas Island while the refugee status was being processed under the Migration Act of 1958, was not proper as the detention had "direct impact on the rights and interests of the plaintiffs to freedom from detention at the behest of the Executive," and ordered the Commonwealth and the Immigration Minister to pay plaintiffs' costs. The plaintiffs' were two Sri Lankan Tamils who were refused refugee status and decided to challenge the legality of Australia's offshore refugee processing system in Christmas Island.

The High Court declared that "it was an error of law for a person conducting a review of a refugee status assessment as part of an "offshore processing regime" to fail to treat provisions of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) ("the Migration Act") and the decisions of Australian courts as binding. It held that two Sri Lankan citizens who arrived at Christmas Island claiming refugee status were also denied procedural fairness in the review of the assessment of their claims."

Legal observers said that today's decision will likely allow failed asylum-seekers from Christmas Island access to Australian courts to appeal and that the decision will open a floodgate of legal actions in Australian courts.

David Manne, the coordinator of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, who initiated the action on behalf of the two Sri Lankan Tamils said, "[t]here's no doubt that this decision will also result in looking very carefully at what has happened in relation to the decisions of many asylum seekers subject to this offshore processing regime; this scheme which the High Court has now found to be fundamentally flawed."

The decision also will be politically damaging to the ruling labor government, as the Rudd Government in 2007 was responsible for decommissioning the refugee processing centers in the Manus Island and Nauru, and bringing the processing to Christmas Island.

Between 2001–2007, the former Howard Government secured the passage of legislation through the Australian Parliament which excised Christmas Island from Australia's migration zone, meaning that asylum seekers arriving on Christmas Island could not automatically apply to the Australian government for refugee status.

This allowed the Royal Australian Navy to relocate them to other countries (Papua New Guinea's Manus Island, and Nauru) as part of the "Pacific Solution." In 2006 an Immigration Detention Centre, containing approximately 800 beds, was constructed on the island for the Department of Immigration.


External Links:
AU: Immigration facing 'chaos' after High Court decision
AU: Australia: Migration Act 1958

 

Latest 15 Reports
15.10.19 23:50  
Colombo destroys dairy-farming economy of Eezham Tamils in Batticaloa
14.10.19 23:48   Photo
Tamil parties in North-East stipulate ‘acid test’ terms to SL presidential candidates
13.10.19 22:15   Photo
SL Governor's latest land grab poses danger to archaeological traces of Eezham Tamils
12.10.19 22:23   Photo
Monks step up campaign against Muslims, want to carve out Sinhala colony in Ampaa'rai
11.10.19 22:07   Photo
Vote for Self-Determination, reject major candidates for more effective boycott
10.10.19 23:31   Photo
SL Police intensifies restrictions on Saiva devotees at disputed ‘chaitya’ hilltop in East
09.10.19 20:17  
Indian Coast Guard trespassed into waters off Jaffna, 18 fishers detained since 03 October
08.10.19 18:43  
Divisional Secretary, TNA MPs must act to release Chegnchoalai lands: civil activist
07.10.19 23:12   Photo
Heinous act by HRCSL: former orphans of Chegnchoalai on the brink of losing lands
06.10.19 12:21  
EPDP joins Jaffna protest against desecration of Neeraaviyadi temple
05.10.19 22:06  
Families inheriting lands from parents refused of land registration in Moothoor East
04.10.19 21:50  
SL Archaeology, Police continue to disturb Tamils’ right to worship at Vedukku-naa'ri hilltop
03.10.19 19:16  
Raghavan plans to distribute uncultivatable lands to Tamils to compensate for loss of fertile lands
02.10.19 22:28   Photo
No place for human rights in China’s white paper for future world
01.10.19 18:26  
Genocidal Sri Lanka hits back at UN, claims it passed ‘litmus test’ on human rights in 2019
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=32993