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Dark Justice: Australia's Indefinite Detention of Refugees on Security Grounds under International Human Rights Law


Ben Saul


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

January 21, 2013

Melbourne Journal of International Law, Forthcoming
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 13/02

Abstract:     
This article examines Australia’s security assessment and related detention of refugees in the light of international human rights law. The current domestic legal process typically denies refugees any or adequate notice of the allegations and evidence against them, precludes merits review by an independent administrative tribunal and fails to provide genuine and effective judicial review of security assessments or detention (including a sufficient degree of procedural fairness and disclosure of essential evidence). The result is often indefinite detention of recognised refugees who cannot be removed from Australia and thus remain in a legal black hole where security decisions are immune from scrutiny. The current regime results in systematic violations of Australia’s obligations under arts 9(1), 9(2) and 9(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These violations are not remedied by the High Court of Australia’s fairly narrow, technical decision in the 2012 case, Plaintiff M47/2012 v Director-General of Security, or by the creation of the non-binding Independent Reviewer of ASIO assessments.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 47

Keywords: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), arbitrary detention, indefinite detention, national security, classified information, secret evidence, procedural fairness, public interest immunity, right to a fair hearing, refugees

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33

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Date posted: January 21, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Saul, Ben, Dark Justice: Australia's Indefinite Detention of Refugees on Security Grounds under International Human Rights Law (January 21, 2013). Melbourne Journal of International Law, Forthcoming; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 13/02. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2204823

Contact Information

Ben Saul (Contact Author)
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.usyd.edu.au/about/staff/BenSaul/index.shtml
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