‘Australia’s refugee policy is a crime against humanity‘, Foreign Policy, 23 February 2017
The author, an Australian lawyer working in Washington, writes that a brief has been lodged with the International Criminal Court, which gives ‘every indication that Australian officials, over the course of successive governments, have knowingly enabled the commission of crimes against humanity’ because of what has been done to asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru.
The author looks at some of the evidence, including how conditions are made deliberately brutal as a deterrent and how legal fictions and subterfuges underpin the regime.
By opening an examination into the alleged crimes against humanity on Nauru and Manus Island, the court could demonstrate that it is willing to investigate serious crimes, even when the alleged perpetrators are from a relatively powerful Western nation. And at a time when Western nations are grappling with the largest refugee crisis since World War II, overlooking allegations coming out of Nauru and Manus Island would risk normalizing Australia’s abuse of refugees, setting a disturbing precedent for the rest of the world.