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Two men sheltering in boat

The usual way of seeking protection is to come to a country and ask for protection. This is commonly called  ‘seeking asylum’, and people who come this way are often called ‘asylum seekers’. This generally means that they have not yet had their claims to be a refugee formally determined.

In Australia, ‘seeking asylum’ is often seen as being the ‘wrong’ way to come, and the ‘right’ way is to wait in a queue and be selected by UNHCR for resettlement. In fact, seeking asylum is the way most people get protection in the world, and is the way that is protected by the Refugee Convention.

Latest news

Visitors’ access to people in detention

In recent months, the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) has increasingly heard from these visitors that security conditions in immigration detention facilities are being ratcheted up and it is now more difficult to visit people in immigration detention. Correspondingly, people in immigration detention are increasingly isolated from the wider community, negatively impacting their mental and physical wellbeing. As a result, we have started a national study to explore those concerns further. The focus of this research is on access to people in onshore immigration detention facilities.
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Briefing on lifetime visa ban

The Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016 was introduced into Parliament on 8 November 2016 and passed the House of Representatives on 10 November 2016. It is now…

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An island of despair: Amnesty International’s report on Nauru

Are we torturing people on Nauru? Yes, according to Amnesty International, in its recent report Island of Despair. This report was based on interviews with refugees on the island, people who worked for companies that provided services in Nauru under Australia government contracts, and others concerned within the Australian community.
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Thinking Beyond Offshore Processing: Key Recommendations From The Refugee Council Of Australia

Thinking Beyond Offshore Processing: Key recommendations from the Refugee Council of Australia

This paper explains our views on the path beyond offshore processing, bringing together existing recommendations in some of our key reports, including: Australia’s response to a world in crisis (March 2016, ‘Australia’s response’), Eroding our identity as a generous nation: Community views on Australia’s treatment of people seeking asylum (December 2015, ‘Eroding our identity’) and Improving Refugee Protection in Asia-Pacific: How Australia can make a practical difference (July 2015, ‘Improving refugee protection’).
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New research published in a special edition of Cosmopolitan Civil Societies

A special edition of the journal Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal was published in August 2016 which focuses on the responses to and experiences of people seeking asylum in Australia and Indonesia. The edition is co-authored by Caroline Fleay and Lisa Hartley, both from the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University.
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Academics call for better refugee policy

Is it possible for Australia to adopt a just and humane approach for refugees? A group of Australian academics think so, and have published a policy paper with some suggestions for how we get there.
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Association With Abuse: The financial sector’s involvement in gross human rights abuses of people seeking asylum in Australia.

This report examines the involvement of Ferrovial SA, a Spanish stock-exchange listed company, through its subsidiary Broadspectrum, in operating the offshore detention centres (ODCs)for asylum seekers in Manus Island and Narau. As the lead contractor in administering both centres, Broadspectrum makes decisions about detainee welfare, movement, communication, behaviour, accommodation, food, clothing, water, security and general conditions.
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Raising Concerns About Australian Refugee Policy To UNHCR

Raising concerns about Australian refugee policy to UNHCR

A core part of the work of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is raising concerns about Australian refugee policy. On 21 June 2016, we talked to UNHCR’s Division of International Protection about these issues as part of their consultations with NGOs in Geneva.
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Speaking Up About Suicide And Self-harm

Speaking up about suicide and self-harm

In July 2016, the Refugee Council of Australia spoke at a major national conference about the effect of asylum policies on the mental health of people seeking asylum. The National Suicide Prevention Conference, held by Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA), was held in Canberra between 24-27 July 2016.
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