22 December, 2023
Following the launch of a High Court challenge against the Government’s extreme new laws for refugees freed from illegal detention, a debilitating ankle bracelet and strict curfew conditions have been removed from ASRC’s client RVJB.
RVJB was forced to wear a painful ankle monitor and comply with a curfew despite having shown his rehabilitation over 8 years, and having lived in the community for one year. The new conditions had a severe impact on his physical and mental health.
Before the ASRC’s case could be considered by the High Court, the Minister granted RVJB a new visa without the ankle monitor and curfew conditions, and has since agreed to cover his legal costs.
Lawyers at ASRC say the outcome confirms the strength of the constitutional challenge brought to the Court and the importance of holding the Government to account for exercises of power affecting people’s freedom.
RVJB, who has lived as a permanent resident in Australia since he was a child, is still subject to over 20 strict visa conditions, including invasive reporting requirements, and requirements to comply with removal despite his refugee status. Any breach of those conditions will mean a minimum 1-year jail sentence.
Lawyers at ASRC will continue to take urgent action for people experiencing harm from the new visa condition regime and the preventative detention scheme.
“It is such a relief to have the monitor and curfew taken off. But I still feel broken. I sleep during the day and at night the trauma kicks in. I still have pain in my leg from the monitor. We all have to face hard things in life but this is mentally crushing.
“I just want to rebuild my life with my son, my family, and my community.”
ASRC’s Principal Solicitor, Hannah Dickinson:
“This is an important outcome for RVJB, who has twice been subjected to wrongful exercises of government power at incalculable personal cost.
“It’s also a step forward in defending critical limits on government power that exist to protect every person in the Australian community. We should all be equal before the law, regardless of where we were born, and, as a community, we must be very careful that people’s lives and health are not traded for political convenience.
“We will continue the fight for people subjected to these unjustified, unequal laws and deprived of their liberty, privacy and dignity.”
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