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- does not deter irregular maritime migration, ‘stop the boats’ or ‘break the business model’ of people smuggling networks;
- does not ‘save lives at sea’ or achieve any other humanitarian objective; and
- suffers from other policy failures, including enormous financial costs for Australian taxpayers, violations of fundamental rules of international law, numerous legal challenges and systemic cruelty.
The policy brief concludes by recommending that:
- offshore processing immediately be brought to a formal end by providing everyone who has been subject to the policy since 2012 with settlement in Australia (or another appropriate country, provided the humanitarian solution is voluntary 5), and repealing or terminating the legislative and administrative arrangements underpinning the policy; and
- Australia’s offshore processing model not be adopted elsewhere.
- 1. Offshore processing is factually and legally distinct from the transfer of asylum seekers to remote parts of a State’s territory, such as from the Australian mainland to Christmas Island, since the latter involves neither the removal of people from a State’s jurisdiction nor the transfer of people between states
- 2. In the first policy brief in this series, Professor Jane McAdam examined European proposals for the extraterritorial or ‘offshore’ processing of asylum seekers dating back to at least the mid-1980s: Jane McAdam, ‘Extraterritorial processing in Europe: Is ‘regional protection’ the answer, and if not, what is?’ (Policy Brief 1, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, May 2015) <https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/file....
- 3. Letters from UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres to Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen, 5 September 2012, 9 October 2012.
- 4. In June 2021, Denmark amended its Aliens Act to enable offshore processing and protection if a partner State can be identified: Lov om ændring af udlændingeloven og hjemrejseloven (Indførelse af mulighed for overførsel af asylansøgere til asylsagsbehandling og eventuel efterfølgende beskyttelse I tredjelande) (Denmark) 3 June 2021 <https://www.folketingstidende.dk/samling/20201/lovforslag/L226/20201_L22... In July 2021, the Nationality and Borders Bill 2021 (UK) was introduced in the United Kingdom, with a similar intended effect.