Right of asylum



Safe start. Fair future.

The report addresses the key gaps in the current policy settings that discriminate against Convention Refugees and people seeking asylum.

Together in safety: a report on the Australian government’s separation of families seeking safety

This report is a multi-disciplinary collaboration which highlights the Australian government’s intentional use of family separation against people who seek asylum. Calling on leading medical experts and international law specialists, this report shows that the Australian government’s tactic of separating families is not merely morally...

Please take me to a safe place

Amnesty International has for the first time carried out investigative field research on Aotearoa New Zealand soil. It follows a number of reports of the ill-treatment of people in prison, including people who’ve sought asylum. This report establishes that the New Zealand government has repeatedly...
Blog post

What next for the refugees and failed asylum seekers on Manus Island?

After five years, the Australian government practice of offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island is about to finish.

A global compact on refugees: the role of Australia

This report argues that Australia has a vested interest and particular experience and expertise to contribute to the Global Compact on Refugees in order to institute a more effective and equitable response to asylum seekers and refugees.

Speaking up in international discussions on refugee protection

How should we shape the Global Compact on Refugees and what does this mean for states, civil society, refugee and host communities and others? These questions were the focus of international discussions in Geneva in June 2017.

Boat ‘turnbacks’ in Australia: a quick guide to the statistics since 2001

This guide provides statistics on the number of boats that have been ‘turned back’ since the practice of removing unauthorised maritime arrivals in Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels (SIEVs) from Australian waters was introduced by the Howard Government (from 2001–2003) and reintroduced by the Abbott Government...
Working paper

Removal of failed asylum seekers in Australia: a comparative perspective

This working paper reviews the current policy of removing failed asylum seekers in Australia and draws lessons from similar policy areas and reforms in the United Kingdom and Canada.

State of the nation: Refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia

The world is in the midst of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Yet Australia’s approach in recent years has been to punish people seeking asylum, while increasing the numbers of refugees it resettles. This contrasting approach threatens the long and proud history Australia has of successful...

A comparison of Coalition and Labor government asylum policies in Australia since 2001 (February 2017 update)

Introduction It has been four decades since the first boats carrying Indochinese asylum seekers arrived on Australia’s shores. Since then public perceptions or concerns over unauthorised maritime arrivals continue to strongly influence government policy and to be an emotive and divisive political issue. While the...
Audio interview

UN expert recommends national action plan on human rights

The issue of an Australian bill of rights has been placed back on the political agenda by a visiting UN expert. Michel Forst is the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders. After two weeks in Australia, he delivered his preliminary report and recommendations to...

Island of despair: Australia's "processing" of refugees on Nauru

The current policy of the Australian Government is that no person who arrives in the country by boat seeking asylum can ever settle in Australia. Instead, anyone who arrives by boat is forcibly taken to offshore 'Refugee Processing Centres,' one of which is on the...

Peering through human rights-tinted glasses

Australia’s new Human Rights Commissioner, Edward Santow, will use his first year in office to focus on the treatment of people in detention in Australia.

Pathways to protection: a human rights-based response to the flight of asylum seekers by sea

The Commission has endeavoured to identify options for responding to flight by sea which are consistent with Australia’s international human rights obligations. In publishing this paper, the Commission is seeking to make a positive contribution to this difficult policy area. We have sought to provide...

Offshore processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea: procurement of garrison support and welfare services

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s (DIBP) management of procurement activity for garrison support and welfare services at the offshore processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea (Manus Island) has fallen well short of effective procurement practice. This audit has identified serious and...

Germany, one year on

Anniversaries are opportunities for reflection and re-evaluation. In recent weeks, news media around the world have commemorated and reassessed the events of late August and early September 2015 that led to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers, and their initially...

Reforming the international protection regime: responsibilities, roles and policy options for Australia

In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Nonresident Fellow in the Migration and Border Policy Project Dr Khalid Koser argues that the international protection regime is failing and Australia has a responsibility to help fix it. Koser defines how promoting reform, at the domestic, regional and global...

Cast adrift: Australia risks its international standing over asylum-seeker policies

The ‘Nauru files,’ which detail reports of abuse in Australia’s asylum-seeker detention centre on Nauru, have received global attention since their release. They should provide a flashpoint for the Turnbull government to reassess the longstanding policy of offshore detention of asylum seekers before more serious...
Audio interview

Dutton's response to the Nauru files 'morally unacceptable' says mental health expert

On Wednesday, The Guardian released a slew of disturbing new examples of sexual abuse, self harm and appalling living conditions at Australia's immigration detention facility on Nauru. It's the largest ever cache of leaked documents from the island facility, with more than 2,000 incident reports...
Audio interview

Gillian Triggs says keeping asylum seekers on Nauru is 'illegal', 'immoral' and 'unsustainable'

The Turnbull Government is facing mounting calls for a Royal Commission into immigration detention on Nauru. It follows the mass leak of more than 2,000 incident reports detailing assaults, sexual abuse and self harm attempts—more than half of which involve children. The Immigration Department says...

Academics for Refugees policy paper: a just and humane approach for refugees

The Policy Paper recommends that Australia end its harmful policies of offshore processing, boat turnbacks and the mandatory detention of people seeking asylum. The Policy Paper sets out practical and sound measures to be considered by the Australian government in order to adopt a just...
Audio podcast

Refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia

In this podcast episode Kate interviews Trish Cameron, Legal Aid Coordinator at Suaka, an Indonesia-based network that works for refugee rights protection in the country. While global focus has been on the refugee crisis in Europe, it is important to remember that Indonesia and Asia...

What’s next for asylum seekers under a re-elected Turnbull government?

Dealing with refugee flows requires sophisticated policies that reflect both domestic and international realities. These realities include Australia’s status as a sovereign nation that wishes to protect its borders, but also as a country operating in a highly globalised world. That world is experiencing situations...

The regional impacts of Australian asylum seeker policies: what "stopping the boats" means for people seeking asylum

To date, relatively little attention has been given to the experience of people seeking asylum being 'warehoused' in our region. While the policies of the country in which they are residing also impact on their experiences, it is clear from researchers, non-government organisations (NGOs) that...

The resettlement of refugees in Australia: a bibliography

Since the end of the Second World War, Australia has formally resettled over 800,000 refugees. Their settlement has been the subject of a significant amount of research. This bibliography lists a total of 1451 postgraduate theses, books, book chapters, journal articles and reports, including 644...