Australia’s compulsory incarceration of asylum seekers started in the early 1990s (Chan 2006). The Keating Government pioneered the immigration policy. To uphold the reliability of the country’s immigration programs, the policy requires three categories of immigrants to be subjected to compulsory incarceration.
The groups are all illegal immigrants, migrants who present intolerable threats to the public, and migrants who have recurrently declined to act in accordance with their visa requirements (Chan 2006). As such, the policy is a vital constituent of robust border control measures. Under the program, all refugees must be incarcerated to go through evaluation processes comprising of security and health check-ups (Weissbrodt 2008a).
The evaluation processes are aimed at establishing if the asylum seekers have genuine causes for staying in the country. Since its establishment, the policy has attracted heated debates.
The policy has been criticised because it breaches the basic human rights upheld by the international law. In this regard, I believe that Australia’s compulsory incarceration of refuges illustrates that international human right standards have no factual capability to oblige states.
The right not to be incarcerated is an essential human right safeguarded by the international law. However, it should be noted that the law has no realistic ability to force states as indicated by the above policy. Australia’s policy on immigration demonstrates that state’s sovereignty is paramount. In this respect, the international law loses some of its capacity to obligate a sovereign state.
Being a sovereign state, a country is morally right in protecting the reliability of its borders (Taylor 2005). Equally, Australia’s sovereignty allows it to regulate immigrants who enter its borders. However, I believe that the above idea of sovereignty is limited. Australia’s autonomy does not guarantee the state to treat asylum seekers as they wish.
If the state treats the refugees without adhering to certain requirements, a failure in international collaboration would be witnessed. Therefore, Australia as an autonomous state acknowledges the need to respect specific commitments and rights to uphold its rank in the international corporation.
Just like other states, Australia engages in the international system of law and sign treaties with other autonomous countries (Loescher 2013). Through this, the country has approved to endorse the global system of rights and accountabilities that oversees the manner in which autonomous countries behave.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that endorsement of international agreements does not comprise of giving out of autonomy to an international organization. By endorsing the international law focused on refuges, Australia unequivocally approves to guarantee that fresh domestic decrees to be formulated be applied in a way that offers the appropriate appearance to its accord responsibilities (Weissbrodt 2008b).
The act is an optimistic appearance of the country’s independence and a confirmatory exercise of autonomy. Based on this illustration, it is apparent that Australia’s compulsory incarceration of refuges exhibits that international human rights standards have no factual capability to oblige states.
In addition, it should be noted that globally there is slight objection to the right that countries are ultimately accountable for how they treat immigrants (Weissbrodt 2008a). For instance, some Asian countries like Malaysia practice compulsory incarceration of asylum seekers in the same way Australia does (Davies 2006). Some Asian countries argue that they cannot be part of a treaty they did not play a role in drafting.
Through this, they have been able to formulate strict laws against asylum seekers, which violate the international human rights. For this reason, I believe that international rights standards have no real capacity to oblige Asian states just has it does with Australia.
If the international community wants to come up with laws that will oblige states in the future, it must ensure that the laws are in accordance with states’ sovereignty. Through this, the states will find it easy to implement the laws without compromising on their sovereignty.
Equally, the international community must try to engage all the states when drafting the laws. By doing so, all the states will feel represented. With equal representations, the states will also find it easy to implement the laws within their borders.
In conclusion, it should be noted that Australia’s compulsory incarceration of refuges illustrates that international human rights values have no factual capability to oblige states. Australia’s policy on immigration demonstrates that state’s sovereignty is paramount. In this respect, the international law loses some of its capacity to obligate a sovereign state.
Being a sovereign state, a country is morally right in protecting the reliability of its borders. It should be noted that endorsement of international agreements does not comprise of giving out of autonomy to an international organization.
Equally, it should be noted that globally there is slight objection to the right that countries are ultimately accountable for how they treat immigrants. If the international community wants to come up with laws that will oblige states, it needs to ensure that the laws are in accordance with countries’ sovereignty and all the states are engaged in drafting the laws.
Chan, P 2006, ‘The Protection of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: Non-refoulement under Customary International Law’, The International Journal of Human Rights, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 231–239.
Davies, S 2006, ‘The Asian rejection: International refugee law in Asia’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 562-575.
Loescher, G 2013,Human Rights Textbook, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Taylor, S 2005, ‘Sovereign power at the border’, Journal Public law review, vol. 16, no.1, pp.55-77.
Weissbrodt, D 2008a, Refugees. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Weissbrodt, D 2008b, Stateless Persons. Oxford University Press, Oxford.