Response to High Court decision re ASF17

10th May 2024

The High Court decision today in regard to the man known by the pseudonym ASF17 means the Commonwealth government must look at finding safe third countries to resettle immigration detainees.

“There are many people in immigration detention who, while the courts have found they would not face persecution or harm on return, would be sent back to a situation where they believe they may be harmed. They legitimately fear that return,” said Mr Greg Barns SC, spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“Let’s remember these countries include Iran, Iraq, South Sudan, Zimbabwe and Russia.”

While ASF17 and many others in his position have been found to not be refugees under the Migration Act, many fear they would be harmed if forced to return to countries such as Iran, Iraq or South Sudan which do not take involuntary returnees. 

“We need also to remember many of these detainees are very vulnerable, with poor mental health due to prolonged detention and uncertainty about their future,” said Mr Barns SC.

“The Commonwealth must provide all assistance possible to ensure they can be resettled in safe countries such as the US or New Zealand.  This is the humanitarian thing to do.”

Tags: Asylum seekers and refugees Detention Immigration