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Journal for Peace and Justice Studies

Volume 27, Issue 1, 2017

Binoy Kampmark
Pages 52-71
DOI: 10.5840/peacejustice20172713

On ASIO’s Advice
The ‘procedural trap’ and Refugees in Indefinite Detention

This paper assesses the approach to indefinite detention adopted by the Australian government, suggesting that it is a product of incremental reasoning favouring procedure over observing substantive rights. Specific emphasis is given to the category of detainees deemed to be refugees, but assessed as a pressing security threat. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has found such approaches in violation of international law. Disproportionate measures, it is argued, have been taken regarding such a class of refugees, in direct violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The trend towards such detention, however, is an international one, a security trend that defers legal judgment to that of the executive in what can be termed a form of governmentality in action. That trend received considerable impetus from the post-September 11, 2001 detention regime in Guantánamo Bay.