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MEDIA RELEASE: New law officially gives government power to indefinitely detain refugees

Liberal and Labor Parties have both signed off on a new law that gives the immigration minister the power to overturn refugee status.


While the Migration Amendment (Clarifying International Obligations for Removal) Bill 2021

prevents the government from sending anyone back to their country of origin where they likely face persecution, it gives the government the power to potentially detain them in Australia indefinitely.


Refugee Voices is very concerned that this legislation has officially handed the government even more power to continue abusing the human rights of refugees and is a further violation of Australia’s international law commitments.


“The immigration minister has always had a lot of power, now it’s official,” says Refugee Voices CEO, Ahmad Hakim.


“Minister Karen Andrews, and previously Peter Dutton, have the power to detain refugees for over eight years in offshore and onshore detention centres, they have the power to not protect people from violence, rape and murder, and they have the power to treat refugees as non-human.


“This legislation expands that power even further and makes the lifetime detention of refugees legal in Australia. That is concerning because the refugees have little or no legal ability to fight back with.


“This could become a devastating model for other countries to follow suit in the human rights abuses of refugees around the world.”


For further comment please contact Refugee Voices CEO, Ahmad Hakim 0439334923.



Man standing behind bars with his hands through the bars. He shows the palms of his hands with the writing, Freedom for family, 8 years too long.
Spice Helal is being detained in Papua New Guinea, separated from his wife and child.

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