Feb 28, 2011

Protection for people facing torture

Labor Member for Grayndler, Anthony Albanese, today welcomed the introduction of legislation to simplify the process of applying for protection visas for people at risk of torture, inhumane treatment or likely death.

The Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection) Bill 2011 allows claims raising Australia’s non-return obligations under international human rights treaties to be considered through the same visa process as claims that raise obligations under the Refugee Convention.

The Bill provides for the granting of a protection visa in circumstances where, as a foreseeable consequence of removal from Australia, there is a real risk the applicant will be:

  • arbitrarily deprived of their life;
  • subjected to the death penalty;
  • subjected to torture;
  • subjected to cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment; or
  • subjected to degrading treatment or punishment.

Mr Albanese said that, for example, a woman fleeing an honour killing may not qualify for protection under the Refugee Convention and can only currently receive protection through the discretionary intervention of the Minister for Immigration, which can be a time-consuming and stressful process.

“She would have to apply, be rejected, seek review, be rejected again and then seek the personal intervention of the Minister,” said Mr Albanese.

“Introducing this complementary protection legislation will allow for all claims by visa applicants to be considered in one efficient, transparent and reviewable process.”

“My office helps many vulnerable people in this situation every year and I believe this is positive news for many people in our local community.”