Asylum seeker
rights

People coming to Australia seeking asylum from persecution are some of the most vulnerable members of society. Those people held in immigration detention should be treated with respect and compassion and not subjected to questionable and even illegal practices on the part of the authorities.

At Maurice Blackburn, we believe that the Government must be held accountable for the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, and we work to provide legal advice and assistance to these vulnerable individuals.

Maurice Blackburn is proud to have represented many asylum seekers who have been appallingly mistreated and denied their human rights. That is why the firm fought for more than 100 children and babies living in detention centres around the country, including baby Ferouz, who was born in Australia in 2013 to an asylum seeker family from a persecuted minority group in Myanmar.

Our cases

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Unlawful detention of people seeking asylum class action

This pro-bono case is significant in shining a light on the Commonwealth’s harsh border policies and in challenging the unlawful detention of detainees under Australian law.

The Commonwealth were very clear in declaring in July 2013 that anyone who arrived by boat would be sent to Manus Island or Nauru, despite that many of these people seeking asylum could never be sent offshore – namely pregnant women, young children and their families - because of significant limitations in the ability of Manus Island and Nauru to safely take them.

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Removing babies from mandatory detention

Maurice Blackburn, along with the Australian Human Rights Commission, the United Nations, and a number of church groups and medical organisations continue to firmly believe that detention centres, including on Nauru Island, are no place for babies and children.

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Protecting women in Australia’s offshore detention centres

In May 2015 a 24-year-old Iranian woman was allegedly raped on her way back to Australia’s offshore detention centre on Nauru after visiting friends. Nazanin was bought to Australia for treatment after she stopped eating and suffered kidney damage. The Minister of Immigration  indicated at the time that she may be forced to return to Nauru, where she would certainly face her alleged perpetrator.

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Protecting children from harm in detention centres

In April 2017 the Australian Government settled a case that Maurice Blackburn ran pro-bono on behalf of ‘AS’, a child who was detained on Christmas Island at age five, when she arrived in Australia with her parents by boat.

Her treatment in detention caused the girl significant psychiatric and physical harm, including post-traumatic stress disorder and a recurrent dental infection.

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