BORDERLINE JUSTICE: DIGNITY AND DECENCY OUTSIDE THE MARGINS

Julian Burnside AO QC

Abstract


Australia’s immigration policy makes a mockery of human dignity through its dehumanisation of rightless refugees. This article narrates the story of a voiceless few who risked their lives in leaky vessels to find freedom in a just and decent society. Instead, what they found was years of emotional and dehumanising abuse brought about through mandatory detention. What does this say about the quality of our society? It is argued that though the social foundation is principally just, it can purge individuals of their self-respect and dignity.

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