New Asylum policy may trigger International Court prosecution

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130

New Asylum policy may trigger International Court prosecution

Media Release
Saturday June 6 2006 11:20am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

"The proposed 'Pacific Solution Mark Two' legislation, currently before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Inquiry may lead to an International Criminal Court prosecution of Australia on the grounds that Australia "persecutes" one specific section of the world population, because Australia can be said to deliberately target the population group of migrants who are "unannounced boat arrivals" for exclusion from Australian shores, and secondly because the last five years have shown that there may be grounds for the miserable circumstances of 'warehousing' of these 'boatpeople' in a third nation - i.e. Nauru - to be named as a particular form of torture," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.

"It is clear that the legislation intends to target 'boatpeople' as distinct from other arrivals in Australian territories. Not only is this bizarre, because the United Nations Refugee Convention was specifically drafted to guarantee "preferential access" of asylum boats by Member Countries, but also because it clearly discriminates this group on their mode of arrival in Australia," spokesman Jack H Smit commented.

"Once we have this legislation passed in Australia, another country taking offence, could in principle argue that no Australian law can bring this discriminatory persecution of the particular population group to an Australian court. This limitation would set the context for an appeal by that country to the International Criminal Court, arguing that Australia persecutes asylum seekers fleeing their country attempting to reach Australia and seek UN protection under the UN Refugee Convention.

"The context of the legislation seems clearly set for another country to start a prosecution against Australia."

For more information:

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]

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