RISE believes there is a real possibility that the new laws will unduly restrict the basic rights and freedoms enjoyed by all members of the community in Australia. Because of this, it is vital that the Parliament carefully scrutinises the legislation and undertakes a proper community consultation about the appropriateness and proportionality of the proposed laws.
RISE has concerns about the effect on refugees whose personal circumstances – such as serious illness of close family members – may compel them to return temporarily to their countries of origin. Our members are already at a serious risk of harm from state and non-state actors in these countries of origin. The proposed legislation in Australia, the country which has given them refuge, would create an additional threat to their safety. It allows Australian authorities to detain and charge them for going to such places, and then forces them to prove to a court that they had a legitimate reason for being there.
Finally, the proposed legislation goes well beyond targeting the problem of “foreign fighters”. It gives ASIO and other law enforcement agencies far-reaching powers and discretions to curtail people’s rights and freedoms. We need rigorous debate and consultation about these changes, not a knee-jerk response.
Read the Full statement here : Joint Statement on Foreign Fighters Bill – 2014