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Rebuke of International Criminal Court Jurisdiction is Alarming

The International Criminal Court (ICC) last week handed down a historic ruling  confirming that the court’s prosecutor has the power to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity  in Palestine. After half a century of impunity since…
The International Criminal Court, or ICC, is seen in The Hague, Netherlands, November 7, 2019. 
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Declining Numbers Leave Most Vulnerable at Risk

Two countries that historically have led the world in refugee resettlement, the United States and Australia, have dramatically lowered their annual admissions ceilings at a time when the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has…
Abdisellam Hassen Ahmed, a Somali refugee who had been stuck in limbo after President Donald Trump temporarily banned refugee entries, walks with his wife Nimo Hashi, and his 2-year-old daughter, Taslim, who he met for the first time after arriving at Salt Lake City International Airport, February 10, 2017.
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Government Should End Harmful Offshore Policy

This Sunday marks the seventh anniversary of Australia’s disastrous decision to resume its policy of transferring asylum seekers offshore. Since July 2013, Australia has forcibly transferred more than 3,000 asylum seekers who traveled there by boat to…
Asylum seekers and refugees hold placards during protest against their detention at Kangaroo Point Hotel in Brisbane, Australia, amid the Covid-19 crisis.
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Release People to Mitigate Threat of COVID-19 Spread

In Australia, as people grumble about closed beaches and extended isolation at home due to the coronavirus, spare a thought for those in immigration detention. In recent weeks, I’ve received anxious messages from a 32-year-old Sri Lankan…
Refugees protest detention conditions in a Melbourne hotel, Australia, April, 2020.
News

Long History of Politicians Stoking Fears Over Refugees

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, known in Australia as Harmony Day. It’s especially relevant given last Friday’s attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where an Australian right-wing extremist…
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Long Past Time to Put an End to Brutal Treatment of Migrants, Asylum Seekers

Ten years ago, I documented a systematic pattern of brutal Greek border police pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers at the Evros River border that divides Greece and Turkey. Last week, as I edited a new Human Rights Watch report, I…
Migrants that crossed the land border between Greece and Turkey are seen at the Pre-Removal Detention Center in the village of Fylakio, Northern Greece, February 24, 2017.
News

Proposed Law Would Expedite Medical Transfers

Australian members of parliament (MPs) have the chance before year’s end to address one of most egregious impacts of Australia’s harsh border policies by backing a bill to give refugees emergency medical care. On December 3,…
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Detained Iranian Asylum Seeker Died From Lack of Medical Care

Hamid Khazaei was a fit and healthy young man when he arrived on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island in September 2013, transferred there by the Australian government under its draconian asylum-seeker policy. Less than a year later, the 24-year-old…
Refugees and asylum seekers protest against Australia’s offshore processing policy at a detention center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
News

A Study in Hypocrisy and Cruelty

The leaked transcript of the infamous January 28 phone call between US President Donald Trump and Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has some extraordinary revelations. It confirms how Australia's foreign policy has been…
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (R) meet ahead of an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, aboard the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, U.S. May 4, 2017.
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UN Expert Body Calls for Regional Processing Centers to Close

This week, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reviewed Australia’s asylum policy. Once again, Australia’s officials were both disingenuous and unconvincing in their appearance before the committee, which monitors state…
A protester from the Refugee Action Coalition holds a placard during a demonstration outside the offices of the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Sydney, Australia, April 29, 2016.
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Iranian Asylum Seeker’s Case Shows Flaws of EU-Turkey Deal

Yesterday I woke up to an alarming text message: “Hi, call me please. My brother today [will be] deported [to] Turkey.” The text was from Arash, a 30-year-old Iranian asylum seeker stuck on the Greek island of Lesbos, who was desperate…
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Biggest Barrier to Children’s Education is Parents Out of Work

More than 40 percent of Syrian refugee children are still not going to school. That’s according to a new UNICEF report, which says that while Turkey has seen a 50 percent increase in school attendance for Syrian refugee children since last June, far too…
Maya, 9, reads a school textbook in her family home. She enjoys attending her local public school in izmir, on turkey’s west coast, where she is one of four Syrian students in her class.
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Serbia, Hungary Leave People Without Adequate Shelter as Winter Hits Hard

While many in Serbia prepare for Orthodox Christmas, others in the country and neighboring Hungary are bedding down in freezing cold weather hoping to survive. Temperatures in Hungary and Serbia have dropped to minus 20 degrees centigrade at night.…
Asylum seekers and migrants living in appalling conditions in abandoned warehouses behind Belgrade train station, Serbia. November 22, 2016.
News

A Well-Earned Rebuke From the UN Children’s Rights Committee

The government of Nauru went to Geneva last month to defend the indefensible: its complicity with Australia’s offshore detention and processing of refugees. Unsurprisingly, its effort was unsuccessful. In a blistering report issued today, the…
Refugee children on Nauru protest Australia’s offshore detention operations, August 2016.
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Australia’s Offshore Refugee Processing Center Is No Model for Europe

True to form, this week Nauru abruptly canceled the visas of three out of six Danish lawmakers shortly before they were to visit the tiny Pacific island nation and examine Australia’s offshore refugee processing operations there.  …
Refugee children held on Nauru protest Australia’s offshore detention, August 2016.
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Nauru’s government has updated its archaic criminal code, striking same-sex relations and suicide off the list of crimes. While the reforms are good news and bring Nauru’s laws in line with international human rights standards, they will do little…
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With little fanfare or media attention, the European Union and Greece yesterday quietly resumed deporting “irregular migrants” from Greece to Turkey. After a two-week pause, boats reportedly took 31 people from Kos, 13 from Lesbos…
A Frontex officer (L) escorts a deportee onto a boat on the Greek island of Lesbos, April 4, 2016.
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Things are bad when Syrian government barrel bombs rain down on your home and force you to flee to a displaced persons camp. Things are really bad when ISIS comes to your camp and orders you to leave. But when Turkish border troops – working with the…
Ikdah camp in Syria near Turkish border