Australia taken to International Criminal Court over refugees

October 26, 2015

The Refugee Action Collective Victoria has filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court over the Australian government's treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

The complaint requests the ICC to investigate and prosecute ministers and former ministers of the Australian government, specifically former prime minister Tony Abbott, former immigration minister Scott Morrison, current immigration minister Peter Dutton, and attorney-general George Brandis.

The document cites a range of actions taken by the Australian government which are in breach of international law. It argues that Australia has violated the refugee convention, the international covenant on civil and political rights, the convention against torture and the convention on the rights of the child.

The document cites the "systematic deprivation of physical liberty in the form of mandatory incarceration of asylum seekers, and the deportation and forced transfer of asylum seekers to 'offshore processing centres' in third-party countries", as well as a range of other practices such as boat turn-backs, indefinite detention of some people who have been recognised as refugees, and the deportation of asylum seekers back to the countries from which they have fled. It argues that some of these actions may amount to crimes against humanity.

The complaint has been endorsed by 53 organisation, including unions, religious groups and refugee rights groups.

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