Australia’s Offshore Asylum Policy Ruled Legal by Court

Australia’s Offshore Asylum Policy Ruled Legal by CourtAustralia’s Offshore Asylum Policy Ruled Legal by Court

Australia’s High Court has ruled that the government’s policy of detaining asylum seekers offshore is legal. The court rejected a challenge brought by lawyers for one detainee who argued the policy was unconstitutional.

The ruling means more than 250 people, including 37 babies, are likely to be deported to a detention camp on the Pacific island nation of Nauru, BBC reported.

Anyone who tries to reach Australia by boat to claim asylum is taken to Nauru or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

The policy has been fiercely criticized by rights groups and the UN, while Australian senators have said Nauru is not safe for children. Rights groups have reported harsh conditions, violence and abuses at the camps. Speaking in parliament after the ruling, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull defended the controversial border security arrangements, saying they were necessary to deter and prevent people smuggling.

“Our commitment today is simply this: the people smugglers will not prevail over our sovereignty. Our borders are secure. The line has to be drawn somewhere and it is drawn at our border,” he said.

Meanwhile the Australian arm of UN’s children fund Unicef said the ruling had “no bearing in Australia’s moral responsibility or its obligations to protect the rights of children” in accordance with international law.