A Chinese refugee affected by recent Australian emergency laws subjecting certain refugees to monitoring challenged the laws in Australia’s high court on Wednesday, according to ABC News (Australia). The refugee’s lawyers claim that the new laws, which relate to the monitoring of refugees who cannot be deported, are “arbitrary” and “punitive.” Under the new laws, any person who cannot be removed from Australia must now be monitored by mandatory ankle bracelets and are under a strict curfew, with failure to adhere to the new rules resulting in lengthy jail sentences. these changes follow a high court ruling that the indefinite detainment of immigrants who could not be extradited was unlawful.
The refugee, who has the pseudonym S151, is a Chinese national who came to Australia in 2001. In 2017, he had his visa cancelled on the grounds of a significant imprisonment period, but the Australian Government was found to owe him a duty of protection and therefore could not deport him to China. S151 was unable to obtain a new visa, as his application for a permanent protection visa had been declined despite the duty owed to him. After his prison sentence ended, he was placed in a permanent detainment facility as he had no visa, could not reside in Australia and could not be removed to China. He was subsequently released alongside 91 others in a similar situation after the High Court struck down indefinite detention in the NZYQ case, where a Rohingya refugee convicted of sexual abuse contested his indefinite detention after serving his prison sentence.
His legal team claims that these restrictions place too much of a burden on an individual’s freedom of movement and that the measures taken by this new law reflect a reaction to punish the individuals rather than monitor them. They claim that S151 should be treated as a resident of Australia who has done the time for his crimes and should be free to try and rebuild his life after his lengthy sentence.