Changes to what constitutes a ‘character concern’ - and the consequences for people who have had their visas cancelled under character grounds – quietly passed in February when the Australian parliament resumed for two weeks with attention focussed on energy policy and party vote-preference deals in the Western Australia.
As part of the Kaldor Centre’s series of Legislative Briefs, Khanh Hoang explains The Migration Amendment (Character Cancellation Consequential Provisions) Act 2017 (Cth). He outlines key issues including: procedural fairness concerns; the potential for double punishment; lack of disclosure of information to the visa holder; and ability to seek judicial review.
The concept of ‘imminence’ in the international protection of refugees and other forced migrants
We are living in an unprecedented era of displacement. Over 65 million people have been forced from their homes by persecution or conflict, and some 26 million more by the impacts of disasters and climate change. Most are displaced within their own countries, but many also cross international borders in search of safety and protection.
While people often flee from imminent risks, such as violence or flooding, other drivers of forced migration – such as gradual environmental degradation and economic instability – may mean that people move in anticipation of future harm. This has sparked new and complex challenges in assessing States’ international protection obligations. Legal decision-makers and policymakers are increasingly finding that traditional approaches to international protection are ill-suited to slower-onset forms of harm.
If people cross a border to escape future harm, how ‘imminent’ does that harm need to be before another country has an obligation to protect them? Should international law protect only people who face the risk of immediate danger, or should it also protect those at risk of harm that may manifest more slowly over time? This is a crucial yet radically under-explored legal issue.
Through a detailed examination of international and national jurisprudence, this three-year project examines the concept of ‘imminence’ in international protection to determine whether a systematic, principled approach is possible. In addition to its scholarly innovation, the project will have practical benefits for the refugee decision-making process, and ultimately for displaced people themselves.
The project is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant held by Professor Jane McAdam (UNSW), Professor Michelle Foster (Melbourne) and Professor Hélène Lambert (Westminster). The project’s Research Associate is Adrienne Anderson.
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