Refugees need and deserve protection and respect

UNHCR is profoundly concerned about the Bill announced yesterday by the Australian Government, seeking to indefinitely prevent refugees who arrive by sea from obtaining protection in Australia.

Mr Thomas Albrecht, UNHCR’s Regional Representative in Canberra, Australia, stated “Seeking asylum is not 'illegal'. Refugees need and deserve protection and respect. The basic human right of every person to seek asylum from persecution is not diminished by their mode of arrival. Those forced to flee persecution need and deserve conducive conditions of protection, and a sustainable long-term solution.”

Asylum-seekers should have their claims processed in the territory of the State from which asylum is sought or which otherwise has jurisdiction over them.

Australia retains responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers, even where they are transferred to another State under bilateral arrangements. Where transfer arrangements are used, Australia retains the obligation to ensure their well-being and to find adequate long-term solutions for those found to be refugees.