Australians take note of this!
Fifteen years after the High Court condemned the prosecution of refugees for using false documents in their quest for a place of safety and parliament provided a statutory defence, they are still being wrongly convicted and sent to prison.
The 1951 Refugee Convention is quite clear: penalties must not be imposed on refugees (including asylum seekers not yet recognised as refugees) found illegally on the territory, if their mode of entry is related to their quest for asylum. Article 31 was drafted specifically because genuine refugees with no valid travel documents may have reason to fear border guards, who might return them to the country they have fled. Although Article 31 has been interpreted in a way which does not prevent the short-term administrative detention of asylum seekers, its ban on penalties is supposed to prohibit their prosecution and conviction for illegal entry, including their use of false documents to…
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