20 November 2018

Following the Australian Bar Association (ABA) and NSW Bar Associations’ successful national legal conference in Sydney, the Council of the ABA adopted 8 key principles in the area of asylum seekers and refugees. The principles reflect the centrality of governments acting according to the rule of law and the Australian government abiding by its international law obligations in this important and significant area.

President Jennifer Batrouney QC said “that the adverse health outcomes and the wellbeing of children and their families on Nauru had deeply troubled many of the ABA’s members”.

"That there are asylum seekers who have been detained on Nauru for years is an example of Australia not acting in compliance with its legal obligations under both the Refugee Convention and international human rights standards” said Ms Batrouney.

The ABA echoes the Australian Medical Association (AMA) concern that the health of children is paramount and that any remaining children and their families should be brought immediately to Australia.

One of the key principles adopted by the ABA includes avoiding future adverse health consequences for asylum seekers and refugees and for Australia to comply with its international obligations:

  1. That due to continuing human rights concerns about the conditions of detention in off-shore places used for the processing and detention of asylum seekers and refugees (such as Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea), all asylum seekers and refugees who have arrived in Australia will be processed in Australia.

The ABA urges the Government to act both in accordance with the rule of law and its international law obligations and act urgently and immediately to ensure the humane treatment of asylum seekers.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Cindy Penrose 0420 309 420 or ceo@austbar.asn.au

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