Audio interview

Proposed ban on refugees arriving by boat in breach of Australia's international obligations: expert

Refugees Immigration Visas Human rights Asylum seekers Offshore detention Special category visas Australia

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has expressed 'deep concern' at the government's proposal to ban refugees who arrive by boat from ever entering Australia.

The UN body has reminded the Turnbull government that Australia has a responsibility to offer protection to all asylum seekers, regardless of their mode of arrival. Federal Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, says the new laws will not contravene international treaties.

Professor Ben Saul is the Challis Chair of International Law at Sydney University. He says the proposed law is in breach of Australia's international obligations.

'Article 31 of the Refugee Convention prohibits countries from penalising refugees on account of their mode of arrival to the country', he says. 'It's also in breach of Australia's family reunion obligations, which says a refugee has the right to be reunited with their family members'.

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