How Australia is breaching the UN Declaration Declaration of Human Rights by stopping you travelling

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Australia’s bans on travelling overseas and moving between states could wind up being potential breaches of a United Nations declaration on human rights.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday declared the ban on Australians going abroad would be unlikely to be repealed until at least next year.

‘There will still be, for the foreseeable future, restrictions on Australians leaving the country,’ he told Cairns radio station 4CA.

The ban on Australians going overseas was introduced in March as non-citizens and non-residents were also stopped from entering the country in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Australia's ban on travelling overseas and moving between states are potential breaches of a United Nations declaration on human rights. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday declared the ban on Australians going abroad would be unlikely to be repealed until at least next year. Pictured is London's Piccadilly Circus in October 2020

Australia’s ban on travelling overseas and moving between states are potential breaches of a United Nations declaration on human rights. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday declared the ban on Australians going abroad would be unlikely to be repealed until at least next year. Pictured is London’s Piccadilly Circus in October 2020

A human biosecurity emergency was also declared giving federal Health Minister Greg Hunt the power to issue orders to combat the outbreak of COVID-19.

UN human rights of freedom of movement

Article 13:  

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Source: United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the UN General Assembly, December 10, 1948

The national and state border closures are also potential breaches of the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Australia was one of eight nations that helped draft this set of principles in 1948.

Under Article 13, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.’

This clause also states: ‘Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.’

Human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, QC, said an indefinite travel ban, that wasn’t aimed at tackling a pandemic, would be a breach of the UN human rights charter.

‘In my opinion, yes,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘A justification would have to be that individual rights get sacrificed in order to protect the rights of the whole community.’

Mr Burnside, a refugee advocate and a member of the Greens, said Australia routinely ignored the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

‘The government breaches the UN charter so often that I imagine they’re not concerned about it,’ he said. 

The barrister, who is also president of Liberty Victoria, is particularly upset at Australia for ignoring Article 14 which gives  everyone ‘the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution’.

‘I think it’s outrageous,’ Mr Burnside said.

Under Article 13 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 'Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.' This clause also states: 'Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country'u

Under Article 13 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 'Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.' This clause also states: 'Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country'u

Under Article 13 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.’ This clause also states: ‘Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country’u

The travel ban is also stopping Australians going to the United States who have a Green Card to live and work there as a permanent resident.

Under the visa lottery, foreigners with an American Green Card must travel to the US within 12 months. 

Australia’s travel ban is creating legal confusion for Australians who had planned to move to the US. 

The Australian Department of Home Affairs is stopping Australians from moving to the US, even if they have the right to move there longer term.  

‘If this was denied then the personal cost of losing an American Green Card would be astronomical,’ an Australian in this position told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Years of hard work and dollars has been put in to receive this right to be a US permanent resident.’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday declared the ban on Australians going abroad would be unlikely to be repealed until at least next year

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday declared the ban on Australians going abroad would be unlikely to be repealed until at least next year

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday declared the ban on Australians going abroad would be unlikely to be repealed until at least next year

Federal Liberal MP Dave Sharma, who represents the wealthy Sydney eastern suburbs electorate of Wentworth, is a critic of the overseas travel ban within the government.

The former ambassador to Israel in August told Nine newspapers it was a ‘pretty extraordinary restriction on people’s liberty’.

‘This is an extreme measure for extreme times but it cannot be something we contemplate keeping in place for the long term,’ he said. 

‘There’s no other country of which I’m aware that is imposing an exit permit system, like we’ve got in Australia.’

Most other liberal democracies, such as Canada, the UK and New Zealand, are discouraging international travel but not stopping citizens going overseas.

The ban on Australians going overseas was introduced in March as non-citizens and non-residents were also stopped from entering the country in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus. Pictured is a deserted Sydney International Airport

The ban on Australians going overseas was introduced in March as non-citizens and non-residents were also stopped from entering the country in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus. Pictured is a deserted Sydney International Airport

The ban on Australians going overseas was introduced in March as non-citizens and non-residents were also stopped from entering the country in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus. Pictured is a deserted Sydney International Airport

Nonetheless, Australia is working on a travel bubble with New Zealand.

From Friday, Kiwis will be allowed to travel to New South Wales or the Northern Territory without having to quarantine.

Mr Morrison is working on travel bubbles to allow Aussies to holiday in certain low-risk countries without having to quarantine when they get back.

He said he is in the ‘early stages’ of discussions with Japan and South Korea but declined to say when the arrangements could be in place.

‘I can’t give you an honest answer to that because I don’t want to raise expectations,’ he said. 



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