The Australian Greens welcome two submissions to the Expert Panel today, made by a group of 17 refugee law academics and another group of 204 Australian academics, which both strongly endorse the life saving and internationally lawful proposals of increased humanitarian intake and escalated direct resettlement from regional nations.
"The Greens agree with the experts that the humane and legal option to protect refugees is to offer safer pathways by boosting assessment of claims in Indonesia and Malaysia and bringing people safely to Australia".
"The submission of the 17 refugee law experts, which has been backed by legal academics around the world, further demonstrates that there are a number of available ways to save lives that should be put on the table before expelling people to danger in Malaysia or Nauru', Senator Hanson-Young, Australia Greens' spokesperson for Immigration and Citizenship, said today.
The legal submission argues that the government and Coalition policies of punitive off-shore processing in Malaysia or Nauru risk are not durable solutions and would breach Australia's international law obligations.
"I support the view of these pre-eminent legal academics that Australia must not use arrangements such as the Malaysia Agreement to ‘contract out' of its international obligations" said Senator Hanson-Young.
The Greens also endorse the view of the experts that "if Australia is serious about doing more than simply sparing itself the discomfort of being witness to, or even complicit in, the suffering and death of those who seek out protection - whether at sea or more generally - then it needs to consider a multidimensional approach that positions the asylum seeker at the centre of its sphere of concern" (page 7 of refugee law experts' submission).
"Similarly, the submission of the 204 elite academics makes it abundantly clear that many informed Australians are seeing past the old parties' spin about punitive off-shore processing and are asking the Expert Panel to support safe, effective and humane long-term solutions" said Senator Hanson-Young.
"Like these experts, the Greens are proposing immediate actions that would save lives by offering safer pathways to desperate people, including expanding Australia's humanitarian intake, resettling people directly from Indonesia and Malaysia, investing in raising protections in our region and reviewing carrier sanctions and visa impediments for people seeking protection by air".
"The Greens are 100% committed to the 1951 Refugee Convention - Australia was a leader in the creation of the Convention and it must remain the bedrock of our asylum policy today".
"Tomorrow Senator Christine Milne and I will take proposals to the Expert Panel that provide safer pathways and make a difference to people's lives without breaching international law. The Greens' proposals back up the calls of the legal experts who know that the only way to save lives is to offer hope and safety before anyone boards a boat".