Lonely Refuge: Judicial Responses to Separated Children Seeking Refugee Protection in Australia
Law in Context, No. 22, Vol. 2, pp. 120-155, 2005
27 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2009
Date Written: June, 15 2009
This article examines the way that Australian courts have responded to the phenomenon of child asylum seekers who are not travelling as part of a family group or with any other form of guardian or protector. The article begins by outlining Australia’s experience of ‘separated children’ who seek protection as refugees, explaining the particular problems facing both the children and the status determination authorities. The body of the article examines the law and policy relevant to the processing of refugee claims by separated children and the extent to which the courts have adjusted the legal frames of reference to accommodate these young people. The second matter concerns the characterization of the children and their experiences within the context of the international legal definition of refugee. In so far as it is possible to discern a trend in the Australian cases, the article argues that indications are that some judges have been prepared to recognize the particular needs of these young, vulnerable and very lonely refugees.
Keywords: immigration, asylum seekers, refugees, children, child
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation