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The High Court’s Sri Lanka asylum seeker case: the legal issues

July 9, 2014


By Patrick Emerton Yesterday’s High Court case concerning the fate of Tamil asylum seekers detained at sea by Australian authorities has been adjourned until Friday. The case raises a range of legal questions. These go to the legality of the Australian Government’s policy towards, and treatment of, asylum seekers. They also go to broader questions […]

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Explainer: the legal implications of ‘tow-backs’

January 21, 2014

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By Azadeh Dastyari Australia has been engaging in “tow-backs” of asylum-seeker boats. This has involved intercepting boats carrying asylum seekers at sea, before they reach Australia, and forcing them to return to Indonesia. It has also emerged that Australia entered Indonesian territorial waters during at least some of these “tow-backs”. Indonesia has responded strongly, stating […]

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Our Prime Minister’s Sri Lanka performance: a human rights disaster

November 20, 2013


By Sarah Joseph AAP/Pau Osborne   Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s performance over human rights in Sri Lanka in the last week was an utter disaster. His statements seemed to brush aside some of the most fundamental human rights values: prohibitions on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture. Context Sri Lanka finished a decades-long civil […]

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Another silly season post: The Law of War and The Lord of the Rings

December 22, 2012


by Sarah Joseph So this is a “storify”, basically a collated bunch of tweets from the night of 21/12 (not the end of the world as we know it) upon watching those war-loving men, elves, hobbits, orcs, wizards, goblins, trolls and dwarves in The Return of the King. Following is a discussion of the applicability […]

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Short and long videos from our 2012 Conference – Professor Gareth Evans

August 2, 2012


Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AO QC is one of the world’s leading experts on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. We were fortunate enough to host him at our annual conference on 20 July this year and have posted two videos below. In this 7 minute Q&A video, Professor Evans discusses R2P and explains […]

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It’s time for accountability on Iraq

July 19, 2012

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Sarah Joseph On Wednesday we learnt that the report of the UK’s Chilcot inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq war will not be delivered until the second half of 2013, over two years after its initial scheduled date of May 2011. The latest delay is caused by a stoush with Whitehall (the British public service) over the […]

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The surprising escape bid of Julian Assange

June 21, 2012


You’ve got to hand it to Julian Assange. He knows how to capture the imagination. In a surprise escape bid, he is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking political asylum. He now faces arrest for breach of bail conditions, though he can’t be touched by UK authorities while he remains on embassy premises. […]

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Transparency and accountability – is the UN leading by example?

April 18, 2012

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By Adam Fletcher Last Friday (the 13th, appropriately enough given the bleak news), the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled that the Women (aka Mothers) of Srebrenica could not sue the United Nations (UN) for failing to protect their families during the well-documented 1995 massacre. There are at least two ways to look at this. […]

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Extradition and Mutual Assistance Changes Slip in under the Radar

March 7, 2012


 By Adam Fletcher Last Wednesday, in the aftermath of the infamous Labor leadership showdown and when all eyes were on the Carr for Canberra drama, federal Parliament passed the Extradition and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. Unless I missed it, the passage of this Bill into law garnered not a single […]

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Turning Back the Boats – Back to the Future on Asylum Policy

January 25, 2012


By Adam Fletcher 2012, it occurred to me today, marks a full decade since I began studying, writing about and (after graduation) giving legal advice on Australia’s international obligations in respect of asylum-seekers and refugees. The more things change in this area, the more they stay the same. The war in Afghanistan is still not […]

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