APRIL 15 2021: 13:00 UTC
Released by: FreeandOpenAustralia.org
BREAKING: The UN Human Rights Committee has ruled today, in test cases brought by two stranded Australians via FreeAndOpenAustralia.org (formerly StrandedAussies.org), that the government must "facilitate and ensure their prompt return to Australia”.
The government has also been required to answer the claim brought on their behalf by Geoffrey Robertson QC, arguing that Australia has breached international law by preventing them, for over a year, from returning to their native land by its arbitrary caps on airline travel.
Both men have been vaccinated and are willing to do 14 days quarantine.
The claimants' cases argue that Australia is in breach of art 12(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states "no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his [or her] own country". This is an absolute right, which the federal government cannot defy by imposing travel caps on airlines or permitting states to dictate quarantine quotas - the Australian constitution (s.51(ix)) gives legal responsibility for quarantine arrangements to the federal government, and not to the states.
Free and Open Australia’s campaign (formerly StrandedAussies.org) Spokesperson Deb Tellis said it was “an important victory for the rights of all Australian citizens. There are over 40,000 of them of whom almost 5,000 are recognised by DFAT as vulnerable.
"Today's decision by the UN is a wakeup call to the government", she said.
"It must allow Alex and Jason to come home and enable all others in their position to come home as well. It must use its power to expand quarantine facilities, and end travel caps that are being dictated by the states. There are thousands of our fellow citizens suffering loss of their relatives and loss of their jobs. By not caring about them, Mr Morrison and his ministers are not only acting cruelly, but unlawfully.”
Free and Open Australia are advocating for Australian citizens affected by the flight caps in any way including those who are stuck outside of Australia. It also advocates for permanent visa holders, partner visa holders, temp work visa holders, international students and those unsuccessfully seeking exemptions to leave Australia who feel their rights have been abandoned by Australia.
For more information contact: email@example.com
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VIDEO STATEMENT: View a video statement on today's events by Jason, one of the Australians who took their case to the UN