To Deter, Detain and Deny: Protection of Onshore Asylum Seekers in Australia

April 2002
International Journal of Refugee Law;Apr2002, Vol. 14 Issue 2/3, p302
Academic Journal
The growing number of boat people arriving since 1989 has brought with it a change of Australia's treatment of refugees. The introduction of mandatory detention of unauthorised arrivals in particular marks the beginning of a gradual slide into a policy of ‘deterrence, detention and denial’ by systematically discriminating against asylum seekers. Since 1989, the status and rights of persons seeking asylum in Australia have been significantly restricted. Moreover, the protection of those who are found to be refugees has been limited to a period of three years and they no longer have access to family reunification and a range of welfare benefits. This article analyses the legal framework that governs the status of onshore asylum seekers in Australia, the support they can obtain from government authorities, and their legal rights upon arrival and throughout their stay in Australia. It outlines Australia's protection obligations under international refugee and human rights law and the way in which Australia has implemented these obligations.


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