People often need to travel through countries to find safety. Many countries, including in the Asia-Pacific region, do not protect refugees. For example, in the Asia Pacific, refugees generally do not have a legal right to stay, work or access basic services. They often face violence, exploitation and abuse. They may be detained or returned to their country of origin.
The conditions in these countries mean that they have not found what is called in international law ‘effective protection’. Generally, this means that:
- The country in which they have sought protection has a clear framework for assessing refugee claims and providing protection
- They can have their claims assessed through a fair and credible system of status determination
- People who are found to be refugees have a secure legal status and will be protected against being returned to their country of origin (refoulement)
- Refugees have access to services and support necessary to ensure a decent standard of living
- Refugees have access to a durable solution within a reasonable period of time, and
- The human rights of refugees and people seeking asylum are respected and upheld.
If a person has found effective protection, they are no longer considered to be in need of protection from other countries. However, people who come to Australia by boat have generally not found effective protection.