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Recent changes in Australian refugee policy

Refugees with adverse security assessments

The Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) conducts a security assessment of all people found to be refugees in Australia before they are granted protection. If ASIO issues an adverse assessment, the person cannot be granted a protection visa. There is no right to appeal the assessment or receive reasons or evidence.

Between January 2010 and November 2011, ASIO issued assessments to more than 50 refugees. These people were held in indefinite detention (some alongside their children) but could not be returned to their country of origin. In July 2013, the UN Human Rights Committee found that the indefinite detention of these refugees breached the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Since 2015, many of these people have been released into the community after ASIO overturned the adverse assessments. However, a few remain in held detention (almost all reaching their eighth year). Those with overturned assessments have been asked to re-apply for a temporary protection visa, even though they would have been entitled to permanent protection when found to be refugees. Their claims for protection will be re-assessed according to new country information. For those yet to be released from detention, this can mean longer periods of arbitrary detention if the Government decides to release them only when they are granted a protection visa.

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