Journal Article

‘Turning Back the Boats’: Australia’s Interdiction of Irregular Migrants at Sea

Andreas Schloenhardt and Colin Craig

in International Journal of Refugee Law

Volume 27, issue 4, pages 536-572
Published in print December 2015 | ISSN: 0953-8186
Published online October 2015 | e-ISSN: 1464-3715 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijrl/eev045
‘Turning Back the Boats’: Australia’s Interdiction of Irregular Migrants at Sea

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At the end of 2013, the Australian Government reintroduced a policy to turn around or tow back vessels carrying irregular migrants, many of them asylum seekers. This policy is designed to prevent their arrival in Australia and return them to the place from where the vessels departed. A similar policy was in operation in late 2001 when, in the aftermath of the so-called ‘Tampa Affair’, four vessels were returned to Indonesia. This article examines the context, objectives, and controversies of this policy and explores the known successful and attempted ‘turn-backs’. The article critically evaluates the rationale and operation of the past and present policies and reflects on the question of whether to retain or repeal this approach.

Journal Article.  19484 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration ; Refugee Studies

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