The Treacherous Path: The Externalization of Australian Asylum Policy in Southeast Asia.
Cohn, Jacob A.
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Abstract: Australia’s policy of indefinite offshore detention of migrants who attempt to reach its shores by boat has drawn increasing condemnation both at home and abroad, but the Australian government continues to maintain its “Operation Sovereign Borders” program. Whil... read moree significant scholarly attention has been paid to the human rights violations being carried out by Australia, much of this work fails to consider the regional forces and conditions that are driving refugees to risk their lives in the attempt to reach Australia, and the role Australia plays in creating these conditions. This thesis examines the connections between refugee protection policies and practices in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia, and concludes that the lack of protection for refugees in Malaysia and Indonesia is a significant driver of migration to Australia by boat, that Australia itself is directly and indirectly contributing to this lack of protection in nearby states through diplomatic pressure and material incentives, and that Australia is harming the human rights of migrants with its focus on deterrence and detention rather than protection. Without a change in Australia’s attitude towards migrants, their human rights (including the right to seek asylum) will continue to be unprotected, leaving them vulnerable to abuse, indefinite detention, refoulement, and other violations.read less