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09 Jul 2018 description

This brief summarises the many changes to Australia’s refugee and asylum policies in recent years. These changes have largely been a political response to an increase in the number of people seeking asylum by boat (51,637 arrivals in the past five years) and in deaths at sea (at least 862 deaths over the same period). Both of Australia’s major political parties have responded by blocking access to protection in Australia and penalising those coming by boat.

Refugee and Humanitarian Program

24 Jul 2017 description

Australia’s policy of offshore processing in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, which denies access to asylum in Australia for refugees arriving by sea without a valid visa, has caused extensive, avoidable suffering for far too long.

Four years on, more than 2,000 people are still languishing in unacceptable circumstances. Families have been separated and many have suffered physical and psychological harm.

30 Mar 2017 description

President’s introduction

The Commission published its inaugural Snapshot Report on asylum seekers, refugees and human rights in October 2013. The intent of the Report was to provide parliamentarians, key commentators and the community with a clear understanding of the human rights issues that arise from Australia’s refugee and asylum seeker policies. This new edition of the Snapshot Report is updated to reflect on the significant developments in law and policy over the past three years.

30 Jun 2016 description

What is offshore processing?

Offshore processing (referred to by the Australian Government as “regional processing”) is the term used to describe the arrangements by which Australia sends people seeking asylum who arrive by boat to either Nauru or on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG), where their refugee claims are determined. Australia is the only country in the world that uses other countries to process refugee claims.

23 Mar 2016 description

Australia launches International Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery

In Bali earlier today, Minister Bishop launched Australia’s International Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery. It demonstrates our commitment to being a regional leader in the eradication of these crimes, which result in the gravest violation of humans rights and have a detrimental impact on sustainable development and regional security.

29 May 2015 description

Budget Snapshot

Key Headlines:

  • The single biggest cut to Australia’s aid budget since the beginning of the aid program: Almost $1 billion was cut from 2015-16, representing a 20% cut for the year. The budget also confirms $2.7 billion of additional cuts in 2016-17 and 2017-18. By 2016-17, total Australian Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) as a share of Gross National Income (GNI) will fall to 0.22%. This is the lowest ever level since records began.

29 Apr 2015 description
report Human Rights Watch

Phnom Penh Has Low Capacity, Poor Record on Refugees, Asylum Seekers

(Sydney, April 30, 2015) – Australia should withdraw plans to send refugees from Nauru to Cambodia in the face of continuing abuses against those already in Cambodia, Human Rights Watch said today. Cambodia should reject its deal with Australia and focus on providing proper protections to the refugees and asylum seekers already on its soil.

16 Apr 2015 description

*Australia has rejected refugees seeking asylum from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia and sent them to the Pacific island nation of Nauru. Now, Australia is offering to pay them to move to Cambodia. *

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Refugees from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia – who are being held on the Pacific atoll of Nauru after being rejected by Australia – could soon be paid to resettle in impoverished Cambodia in an arrangement by the Australian government that has been condemned by human rights activists as inhumane and potentially dangerous.

01 Dec 2014 description


Mixed ows of urban asylum-seekers and migrants from South-West Asia, the Middle East and Africa continue to be the main protection feature in the subregion.

The central challenge for UNHCR is to assist States in shaping responses that balance concerns for border and migration control with the protection of asylumseekers’ rights.

29 Oct 2014 description
report IRIN

PHNOM PENH, 29 October 2014 (IRIN) - As Australia moves ahead with a plan to resettle some 1,000 refugees in Cambodia, its government is trying to change a range of laws so as to give it a freer hand to dismiss future asylum claims.

26 Sep 2014 description

UNHCR is deeply concerned at the precedent set by today’s agreement between Australia and Cambodia to relocate refugees to Cambodia from Nauru.

24 Sep 2014 description
report Human Rights Watch

Phnom Penh Has Poor Record on Refugee Protection, Basic Rights

02 May 2014 description

An agreement between Cambodia and Australia to forcibly transfer asylum seekers to the Southeast Asian country should be scrapped, Amnesty International said today.

The call comes amid media reports that Cambodia has agreed a deal “in principle” to receive refugees and asylum seekers from Australia. These may include some of those held at Australian-run detention facilities in Nauru and on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

30 Apr 2014 description

Australia is edging closer to a new immigration deal, with the Cambodian government agreeing "in-principle" to take genuine refugees from Nauru.

Details of the plan have not been made public but the ABC has been told they would live in the community and be supported by local community organisations.

The Cambodian foreign ministry says it will form a committee to study the proposal and has told the ABC it will only take those refugees who voluntarily agree to go there.

04 Apr 2014 description

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he would welcome a decision by Cambodia to accept asylum seekers from Australia.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is in Cambodia, where he has held talks with the country's interior minister to follow up on an earlier request for the country to help resettle asylum seekers.

In February, the Cambodian government revealed that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had asked their country to accept some asylum seekers.

Mr Abbott says any cooperation or support Cambodia could provide would be appreciated.

24 Feb 2014 description

By Prak Chan Thul

PHNOM PENH, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Australia asked Cambodia, one of Asia's poorest countries, on Saturday to take in asylum seekers detained while trying to reach the Australian coast and Cambodia said it would think about it.

Read the full article on Alertnet

11 Jun 2013 description

Australia has joined the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and over twenty other governments in a commitment to beat hunger and improve nutrition. Signed at a Summit in London on June 8, the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact will bind the international community in its efforts to make nutrition one of the world’s top development priorities.

Everyday more than 8,000 children across the world die from complications caused by a lack of nutrition. In some countries such as Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Cambodia and Laos, over 40 per cent of children are stunted.