Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Crimes commited by Australian governments in our names

Currently reading a great article by NSW academic Mike Grewcock The Great Escape: Refugees, Detention and Resistance, which is published on the excellent web site of the International State Crime Initiative,  a global initiative to document and describe crimes carried out, condoned or instigated by governments.

Grewcock argues that that Australia's refugee policies, mandatory detention and border policing are "crimes" committed by the state. 

Grewcock says that the use of illegitimate force by state and corporate agents (such as Serco) and the infliction of systemic abuse on children, men and women represent a form of state crime. Those who fail to oppose or resist these policies are accessories to a crime.

In an earlier piece on Australia's refugee policy as a form of state crime Grewcock wrote:
"... rather than being the product of errant individuals, state criminality arises from a complex set of state policies and practices that are formulated by parliament and the Executive; declared constitutional by the Judiciary; implemented by a range of policing, regulatory and welfare agencies; and legitimised by recourse to deeply entrenched, often racist, fears of the ‘Other’ (Grewcock 2009; Pickering 2005; Poynting et al 2004). In this context, the three main dimensions to state crime are the alienation, criminalisation and abuse of unauthorised migrants. Moreover, the deviance by which state crime can be defined arises not just from breaches of formal human rights obligations but from the forceful denial by the Australian state of the legitimate expectations of unauthorised migrants to free movement and protection (Grewcock 2009).
 Grewcock has written a recent book on Australia's asylum seeker policies and immigration detention Border Crimes: Australia's illicit war on migrants.

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