Reports, Research & Submissions

Read refugee and asylum seeker reports, research, submissions and analysis.
Plus past reports, research and submissions.


UN Member States Challenge Australia’s Refugee and Asylum Policies
(Refugee Council of Australia -RCOA) January 2021
Last year, RCOA worked with a coalition of Australian NGOs to prepare a
report  about the state of human rights in Australia, endorsed by over 200 organisations, for the UN’s Universal Period Review (UPR).
The coalition also prepared a series of fact sheets.

Climate Change, Disasters and Mobility: A Roadmap for Australian Action
A Kaldor Centre policy brief that identifies why Australia must strengthen its support for Pacific Islanders who may need to leave their homes, including by enhancing migration opportunities. It charts the way towards a win-win future.
Read the policy brief.

2020 Federal Budget analysis
From the Refugees Council of Australia (RCOA) 7 October 2020
What it means for refugees and people seeking humanitarian protection as the federal government cuts refugee intake while increasing spending on offshore processing.
Read the RCOA federal budget 2020 analysis.

Zaki is a refugee on a temporary protection visa. This excludes him from JobKeeper and JobSeeker. On ABC Television’s Q&A program RACS Ambassador Zaki Haidari  asked “will this Budget continue to leave us behind too?”
5 October 2020. View his question and the panel responses via Twitter video.

APNOR Rohingya-Consultation 2020
Between August and September 2020, the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) in collaboration with representatives of Rohingya refugee-led organisations (RLOs) convened a series of consultations to document the challenges, opportunities and ways forward in strengthening responses to the complex challenges facing Rohingya refugees in the Asia Pacific region.
Read the APNOR report.

Refugee Women: Responding to COVID-19  19 August 2020
Led by the Global Independent Refugee Women Leaders (GIRWL) network and hosted by the World Refugee & Migration Council, this virtual conference brought together women refugees from around the world.
Read the report and watch the conference.

The Senate Commitee Inquiry report into the Bill to take away phones from people in immigration detention. 7 August 2020
It has now been released: the report is on the  Australian Parliament Website.

Refugees and Australia’s Double Standards on Covid-19 16 June 2020
Ferdinand, A., Loughnan, C., Murray, P.  Arena.

Refugees need protection from coronavirus too, and must be released
24 April 2020. Loughnan, C., Vogl, A., Fleay, A. Murray, P. Dehm. The Conversation.


Comparative Network on Refugee Externalisation Policies (CONREP) CONREP research publications
The Jean Monnet Erasmus+ Network grant The Comparative Network on Refugee Externalisation Policies (CONREP) is an international, interdisciplinary network of experts from six universities in Australia and Europe. 2020

Temporal variations in the distribution of self-harm episodes and methods across the Australian asylum seeker population: An observational study
(Plos Medicine) 6 August 2020.

COVID-19 and the relentless harms of Australia’s punitive immigration detention regime
Vogl, A., Fleay, C. Loughnan, C., Murray, P., Dehm, S.  Crime, Media, Culture. 2020.


Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Australia
Since 2013, 12 refugees and asylum seekers have died in Australia’s offshore processing system – six due to suicide. (Human Rights Watch July 2020).
Published 16 September 2020

Submission to the Inquiry into the Implications of the Covid-19 Pandemic for Australia’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
(Human Rights Watch) July 2020


Melbourne University: Comparative Network on Refugee Externalisation Policies blog Updated regularly.

Internal border controls: Australia’s domestic policies to deter
(22 July  2020).

Replacing Asylum or Leaving No-One Behind? (17 June 2020).

How refugees went from heroes to villains and the politics
of nostalgia
(7 January 2020).

Externalization and the erosion of refugee protection (25 November 2019).

Active Neglect: The New Tool for the ‘Externalisation’ of
Refugee Protection
(25 November 2019).


Past Reports, Research and Submissions:
Refugee Issues
Offshore: Christmas, Nauru & Manus
Family separation/Family reunion
Access to support services for people seeking asylum
Visa and Citizenship Issues
No Business in Abuse: corporate interests
Other relevant issues
Policy platforms
Other projects

Refugee issues

Nobody behind: summary of NRAAG Consultation Outcomes Report
(National Refugee Community Consultation – NRAAG – Australia) 5 May 2020

Keeping the Australian Government accountable: a guide:
Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA).  4 February 2020
This guide is for refugees, people seeking asylum, and people advocating on their behalf. It provides information about different ways in which people can raise their issues with the government, and how they can find out information about their issues.

This guide explains the role of:

This RCOA guide:

    • Explains their roles
    • Provides links to relevant information, including forms and reports
    • Includes information about what you can expect, and
    • Includes links to relevant information published by the Refugee Council of Australia and its members.

Discussion Document: Canberra RAC: 18 January 2020
This is a document designed to stimulate thought and discussion

Fearless Action for a Fair Australia: Human Rights Law Centre Annual Report 2019 (pp 4-7 Protecting the Human Rights of Refugees and People Seeking Asylum)

Downgrading of Australia’s open democracy status a stark reminder of the need to create an Australian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms:  Human Rights Law Centre 5 December 2019

The Use of Non-Judicial Accountability Mechanisms by the Refugee Sector In Australia: Refugee Council of Australia, 5 Nov 2019

Private Sponsorship in Canada: Special Issue on Private Sponsorship in Canada. Canada’s Journal on Refugees, Volume 35, Number 2. 2019

Global Refugee Forum – High Level Debate on Burden and Responsibility Sharing : Statement delivered by Asako Okai at the Global Refugee Forum.
16 December 2019

Australia’s Private Refugee Sponsorship Program: Creating Complementary Pathways Or Privatising Humanitarianism? Asher Hirsch, Khanh Hoang, and Anthea Vogl. 5 December 2019

As Canadians sponsor refugees from Australia’s offshore detention centres, many Australians are asking why we don’t have our own sponsorship program? Asher Hirsch, Khanh Hoang, and Anthea Vogl, December 2019

Safe Journeys and Sound Policy: Expanding protected entry for refugees: Policy Brief 8. Claire Higgins. Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, Nov 2019

Transferring asylum seeker families to Nauru – human rights report. AHRC Report, 12 Sept 2019

Report from Senate Inquiry into Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2019 [Provisions]  –  i.e. Lifetime Ban
About this inquiry: The bill would amend the Migration Act 1958 and the Migration Regulations 1994 to prevent unauthorised maritime arrivals who were at least 18 years of age and were taken to a regional processing country after 19 July 2013 from making a valid application for an Australian visa.

Investing in Refugees, Investing in Australia: the findings of a Review into Integration, Employment and Settlement Outcomes for Refugees and Humanitarian Entrants in Australia. Peter Shergold, Kerrin Benson and Margaret Piper. Commonwealth of Australia. February 2019

The Dangers of Sending Asylum Seekers Back to Sri Lanka. Graeme Swincer, January 2019

Refugee education in crisis: More than half of the world’s school-age refugee children do not get an education UNHCR Report, 30 August 2019

‘My study is the purpose of continuing my life’: The experience of accessing university for people seeking asylum in Australia
Lisa Hartley, 
Curtin University; Sally Baker, University of New South Wales; Caroline Fleay, Curtin University; Rachel Burke, University of Newcastle August 2019
This article appears in Australian University Review: AUR vol. 61, no. 2

UN: Global Trends – Forced Displacement in 2018. UNHCR 2019

Lives on hold: Refugees and asylum seekers in the ‘Legacy caseload’ (2019) Australian Human Rights Commission, 2019

The harsh reality of onshore immigration detention in Australia – Jesuit Social Services, July 2019

Risk Management in Immigration Detention (2019) – Australian Human Rights Commission.  June 16, 2019

Kaldor Centre Principles for Australian Refugee Policy – Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.  June 13, 2019
“A successful refugee policy not only manages national borders, but also protects people who need safety,” Professor Jane McAdam told the audience gathered in Sydney last night, as UNSW Chancellor David Gonski AC launched the Kaldor Centre Principles for Australian Refugee Policy.
These Principles are grounded in evidence and informed by good practices from other countries, as well as from Australia’s past.

They provide real-world examples of how, and why, Australia can develop a better refugee policy.
Please explore the full Kaldor Centre Principles for Australian Refugee Policy or read the summary and key priorities.
    1. Australia should comply with its international obligations
    2. Australia should provide humane, fair reception conditions
    3. Australia should provide a fair efficient and transparent system for processing claims
    4. Australia should respect the principles of family unity and the best interests of the child
    5. Australia should create additional safe, lawful pathways to protection
    6. Australia should provide global and regional leadership on refugee protection
    7. Australia should invest in refugees for long-term success.

The externalisation of refugee policies in Australia and Europe: The need for a comparative interdisciplinary approach – Philomena Murray, Director of the Comparative Network on Refugee Externalisation Policies (CONREP), University of Melbourne.  June 13, 2019
NB Philomena Murray is co-founder and co-convener of Academics for Refugees

5 Years of Impact– Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. May 16, 2019

A Call to Action: Transforming the Global Refugee System.
World Refugee Council.  January 24 2019.

UN: Global Trends – Forced Displacement in 2017. UNHCR 2018.

Gradations of externalisation: is the EU sailing towards offshoring asylum protection? Daria Davitti, Marlene Fries & Marie Walter-Franke, FMU Policy
Brief No. 03/2018.   May 17 2018.

Making the Global Compacts Work: What future for refugees and migrants?
University of New South Wales (UNSW).   April 2018.

Making sense of global compacts.  UNSW.   2018.

Kaldor: Creating safe zones and safe corridors in conflict situations: Providing protection at home or preventing the search for asylum? Geoff Gilbert and
Anna Magdalena Rüsch.

AHRC: Pathways to Protection. Australian Human Rights Commission 2016.

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Offshore arrangements: Christmas Island, Nauru and Manus Island

Indefinite Despair: Mental Health Consequences on Nauru. Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), December 3 2018.

Until when: The forgotten men of Manus Island.
RCOA & Amnesty. November 21 2018

Children on Nauru. AHRC October 30 2018.

Australia’s man-made crisis on Nauru: six years on.
RCOA & ASRC. September 3 2018.

Pacific Island Forum Heads of State briefing paper.
ARAN August 29 2018.

Child Trauma on Nauru: The Facts. ASRC August 28 2018.

Four Years Too Many. Report by GetUP and the Human Rights
Law Centre July 2017.

Amnesty-Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigation reports medical neglect and assaults on Nauru. AI/HRW 2016. Published in The Conversation.

Moss Review into recent allegations relating to conditions and circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru.  February 2015.

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Australian Human Rights Commission Inspection of Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre: Report (2018). AHRC August 23 2018.

The Forgotten Children 1 Year On. AHRC February 2016.

The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention.
AHRC 2014.

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Family separation/ Family reunion

Addressing the Pain of Separation for Refugee Families.
Refugee Council September 2018.

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Access to support services for people seeking asylum

States of Refuge. Liberty Victoria’s Rights Advocacy Project July 2 2018.

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Visa and Citizenship Issues

Delays in Citizenship Applications for Permanent Refugee Visa Holders.
RCOA November 2015.

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No Business in Abuse: corporate interests

Amnesty Report: Companies Profit from Abuse of Refugees on Nauru.
Amnesty International (AI) 2017.

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Various: other relevant issues

UNSW Kaldor Centre Policy Briefs 2017.

Refugee status determination in Australia. Kaldor Centre UNSW Sydney. (Visas)

Essay: 19 July 2013 Five Years Have Passed Tanya McIntyre, DASSAN (Offshore).
Download a print version (PDF with footnotes).

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Policy platforms

ACTU Policy 2018 Asylum Seekers And Refugees A Rights Based Approach.

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Other projects

Refugee Welcome Zones. Refugee Council of Australia and local councils.

National Tour of the Welcome scroll. Refugee Council of Australia and Rural Australians for Refugees.

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