Policy Statement - Proposal for Australia’s role in a regional cooperative approach to the flow of asylum seekers into and within the Asia Pacific region
25 October 2017
The Law Council of Australia recognises that forced displacement affects a significant number of people worldwide, and that the number of people seeking international protection, and a safe and viable way in which to access it, continues to increase.
The Law Council considers that any regional responses to the flow of asylum seekers into and within the Asia-Pacific region must comply with the agreed standards set out in international legal instruments to which Australia is party and must take place in consultation with other countries in the region, and internationally, under the guidance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The Law Council therefore proposes that the Australian Government work with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region to establish a cooperative and transparent approach in response to the flow of asylum seekers into and within the region, including by:
(a) addressing the protection and material needs of asylum seekers and recognised refugees in the region; and
(b) upholding the human rights of all people within the territory and subject to the jurisdiction of countries in the region.
Any such approach must be consistent with Australia’s international legal obligations and developed in consultation with the UNHCR and the IOM, having regard to their mandates and expertise.