Redressing the accountability deficit in an era of offshore borders

Thursday, November 13. 2008
As is well known, on 30 September 2008 the first unauthorized boat arrivals of the Rudd Government era were intercepted by the Australian Navy off the coast of Western Australia and taken to Christmas Island. The boat, which had departed from Indonesia, carried 12 passengers included nine Afghans. A week later a second boat came from Indonesia carrying 14 Afghan passengers. It too was intercepted off the Western Australian coast and its passengers taken to Christmas Island. It appears that all of the individuals have made protection claims which are being considered pursuant to the non-statutory process which applies in excised offshore places. Not so well known is the fact that many more individuals attempting to make their way to Australia in an irregular fashion are being intercepted in Indonesia through the joint efforts of the Indonesian and Australian governments. Since about 2000, Australia, Indonesia and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have had in place the Regional Cooperation Model (RCM). Pursuant to this arrangement, intercepted individuals are supposed to be turned over into the care of the IOM. If any of them indicate that they are asylum seekers, they are supposed to be referred by IOM to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for determination of their protection claims.

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Is Australia Responsible for Protecting the Human Rights of Asylum Seekers in Papua New Guinea?

Wednesday, October 1. 2008
In the second of the presentations in La Trobe Law's Colloquium Series, Dr Savitri Taylor looks at the question of whether Australia is responsible for human rights violations committed against asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea. Current Australian policy is to enforce borders strictly with respect to asylum seekers and Australia has entered into arrangements with its neighbours, most notably Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, to restrict asylum seekers from third countries from entering Australia. While these asylum seekers are detained in Australia's neighbours' jurisdictions, the question arises whether Australia is responsible for any human rights violations committed against these refugees during this period? Dr Taylor looks at the various institutional arrangements that impact upon these local arrangements, particularly those from the United Nations. Initial conclusions (this paper is part of a broader ongoing project) are that it is very difficult to hold any specific party accountable for abuses of the socio-economic rights of these individuals under current arrangements. Dr Taylor's paper and PowerPoint presentation may be accessed at the followng links: Paper and Presentation

Fairer trade and the human right to development

Wednesday, September 17. 2008
In the first of the presentations of the School of Law Colloquium Series for 2008, Professor Jianfu Chen considers the twin goals of fair trade and the right to development (as a human right). In doing so, Professor Chen looks at the historical origins of the relevant treaties and considers the progress that has been made towards these two goals. Professor Chen's materials may be accessed at the following links: Fairer Trade Paper and Fairer Trade Presentation