UN accuses Australia of violating human rights over India travel ban

WION Web Team
Victoria, Australia Published: May 05, 2021, 02:55 PM(IST)

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison Photograph:( Reuters )

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Scott Morrison has now retreated from the decision and has claimed that nobody will be going to jail under this punishment

 A little after Australia announced a A$66,000 fine or a five-year-long jail term for anyone entering the country from India, UN human rights have raised “serious concerns” about the effect of this decision on human rights.

The UN high commissioner for human rights has questioned the Scott Morrison government if the penalty is consistent with Australia’s human rights obligations.

Also read | PM Morrison retreats from threat to jail Australians escaping Covid-wracked India

"We have serious concerns about whether the Biosecurity Determination – and the severe penalties which can be imposed for its breach – meets Australia’s human rights obligations," Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the office said. "In particular, article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is binding on Australia, provides that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country."

This decision is stopping nearly 9,000 people from entering Australian borders after returning from India and will be reconsidered now as the government was heavily criticised.

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However, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has retreated from the decision and has claimed that nobody will be going to jail under this punishment. He also stressed that the decision has been taken to make sure all Australians stay safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision is due for reconsideration on May 15.

"Obviously, there needs to be a hardline taken as far as the overall act being in place, but nobody’s going to be jailed ... at this time," the deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack said. "The prime minister made it clear."

"We have taken this pause. We have made it in the national interests. We have done it, based on the best possible medical advice. It’s until May 15. We review it constantly, as you’d expect us to do," he added.

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