Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Protect stateless asylum seekers by policy not legal action - PolMin

The Australian Political Ministry Network has called on the Federal Parliament to protect stateless asylum seekers by simple amendments to the Migration Act rather than having the asylum seekers have to rely on court action. The statement has been triggered by the case of Eidress Alsalih a stateless asylum seeker seemingly caught between a rock and a hard place in seeking resolution of his situation.

Following is the full text of the PolMin media release:

Protect stateless asylum seekers by policy reform and not costly legal action

Rather than individual and costly legal actions to protect the rights of stateless asylum seekers Federal Parliament must act and amend the Migration Act 1958 so that stateless asylum seekers are protected, the independent Catholic lobbyist Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin), said today in response to court action commenced by stateless asylum seeker, Eidress Alsalih.

"Stateless asylum seekers are those persons whose applications for asylum have been rejected by the Australian Government but who cannot for whatever reason be returned to their country of origin or to a third country. In effect they have nowhere to go.

"Under the Migration Act stateless asylum seekers are not recognised and so are not afforded any rights or protection. There is no policy that protects the rights of these human persons. This is intolerable. We have a duty to respect and protect the rights of stateless asylum seekers because they are human persons.

"The court action initiated by Eidress Alsalih will most likely not succeed because no policy exists in which the court can uphold. Furthermore, if by chance the court sought to protect the rights of Eidress Alsalih, this protection would not extend to other stateless asylum seekers - each stateless asylum seeker would need to go to the court for such protection. The cost of bringing legal action means this course of action is beyond the scope of many stateless asylum seekers languishing in our detention centres today.

"The only way to resolve this problem is for Federal Parliament to create policy that protects the rights of stateless asylum seekers. This could be simply done. It would need a small amendment to the Migration Act.

"The amendment to the Migration Act that allows stateless asylum seekers to reside in the community under supervision with access to basic services until the stateless asylum seeker can return to their country of origin or to a third country, is what is required.

"We call on the Federal Parliament, the legal profession and asylum seeker advocates to get behind our policy recommendation", Mr James McGillicuddy, PolMin's spokesperson said today.

The Australian Political Ministry Network Ltd (PolMin) is a national independent membership organisation committed to bringing about systemic change in Australian society through the influencing of public policy for the common good in accordance with the principles of Catholic social teaching.

For further information contact: James McGillicuddy, Coordinator, Phone: (02)9890 2852, mobile: 0407 438 616, email:

Australian Political Ministry Network website

7 Jan 2004