Washington International Law Journal


The ripple effects on refugee protection from the events of August and September 2001, arising out of the rescue at sea of 433 asylum seekers by the M/V Tampa, have been substantial. It is too early to determine whether they will be as profound and as corrosive as the impact of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on other intemational legal norms, including those relating to preventive detention and to "securitizing international migration."' Australia's actions with respect to the Tampa and subsequent intercepted vessels, and its September 2001 legislation, establish a framework in which asylum seekers who arrive within portions of its territory may be denied asylum, may be forcibly transported to other states that are either not bound by the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees ("Refugee Convention") or are unwilling to apply their own refugee status determination rules, and may be denied durable protection because they arrived spontaneously rather than via resettlement.

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