June 18, 2019

Australia’s Refugee Policy a Crime Against Humanity

Last week, a veritable who’s who of human rights lawyers, coordinated through Stanford Law School’s human rights clinic, lodged a 108-page brief with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging her to investigate alleged crimes committed by Australian officials and the Australian government’s private contractors. Among an ICC docket stacked with African warlords and strongmen, the folks from Down Under may seem like an odd fit.

But as the well-researched brief demonstrates, there’s every indication that Australian officials, over the course of successive governments, have knowingly enabled the commission of crimes against humanity. Their victims have been people whose only “crime” was to seek Australia’s protection from persecution. In light of trends in Europe and, most recently, the United States, toward abandoning the hard-won protections enshrined in the U.N. Refugee Convention, this is the optimal moment for the ICC to take a closer look — and a key opportunity for the ICC to prove that it isn’t just targeting developing countries, but is willing to take on the crimes of developed nations too. Continue reading here.


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