Title: Deterrence policies and asylum seekers: the case of Australia

Authors: Libby Effeney; Fethi Mansouri

Addresses: Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood VIC 3125, Australia ' Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood VIC 3125, Australia

Abstract: The basic tenets of the international refugee protection regime, set out in the UN's 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, grant individuals the right to seek asylum, but do not provide for laws obliging signatory states to grant asylum. This inherent paradox allows signatory states ongoing manoeuvre to prevent would-be asylum seekers from accessing protection in their territories. To this end, countries of the global north have designed and implemented a range of measures aimed at deterring onshore asylum seekers - privileging border control over refugee protection. This paper examines the effectiveness of deterrence measures taken by Australia. It argues that deterrence measures and attendant political rhetoric are not only contrary to international humanitarian obligations, but obscure empirically grounded understandings of forced migration as a complex social phenomenon, and as such are problematic in terms of meeting their publicly stated objectives of stopping on-shore asylum seeking in the long term.

Keywords: asylum seekers; international refugee protection; border protection; Australia; asylum policy; deterrence measures; sovereignty; human rights; border control; political rhetoric; international humanitarian obligations; forced migration; onshore asylum seekers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMBS.2014.066309

International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, 2014 Vol.1 No.2, pp.217 - 230

Received: 05 Nov 2013
Accepted: 06 May 2014

Published online: 15 Dec 2014 *

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