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India travel ban on returning Aussies ‘violates human rights’

Published: in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

Human rights groups have slammed the government’s move to enforce legal action against Australians attempting to return from coronavirus-stricken India.

Human rights groups have slammed the federal government's move to enforce legal action against Australians attempting to return from India.

Under the new laws to come into effect on Monday, Australian citizens in virus-stricken India could face hefty fines of up to $66,000 and even jail time if they try to return home.

The decision was confirmed by Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday.

READ MORE: Australians who fly home from India risk jail, hefty fines

The penalties, which are being invoked under the Biosecurity Act, are aimed at stopping people coming here from India via other countries such as Singapore or the United Arab Emirates.

Amnesty International Australia's Joel MacKay has told the Weekend Today show that the federal government has shown a "complete disregard" for Australians overseas.

"The Morrison Government promised to get stranded Aussies home by Christmas last year - yet we have thousands and thousands of stranded Australians right across the world

"The Human Rights Commission, the United Nations, us at Amnesty International - we've all been saying that the way that they're dealing with stranded Aussies violates human rights," Mr MacKay said.

READ MORE: NZ pauses travel bubble with WA after three new COVID-19 cases

India

"It is not just breaching human rights, but it is just an utter disregard and contempt for the way that they are working with stranded Australians."

He noted that the Australian passport contained a statement from the Governor-General that says Australians should have free access to travel around the world.

"Human rights are universal - they don't go away," he said.

READ:  Almost 20,000 new cases of coronavirus recorded in India overnight

"The Morrison Government promised to get stranded Aussies home by Christmas last year - yet we have thousands and thousands of stranded Australians right across the world and now around 11,000 in the crisis hot spot in India."

Mr MacKay called on the government to "turbocharge" the nation's quarantine system, lift travel caps and to consider home quarantine where possible.

READ MORE: Hospital fire kills 18 virus patients as India steps up jabs

Five-year-old Johannah is in India while her grandparents, while her mum Drisya Pathikkal Eldo and dad are in Sydney.

It comes after the Australian Human Rights Commission released a stinging statement yesterday urging the federal government to scrap the new measures.

The body, which operates independently but is funded by the government, labelled the criminal sanctions both concerning and "extraordinary".

"The need for such restrictions must be publicly justified," the statement read.

"The Government must show that these measures are not discriminatory and the only suitable way of dealing with the threat to the public."

The Commission said it is also approaching the federal government directly with its concerns.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-india-ban-on-returning-australians-breach-of-human-rights-says-anglicare-joel-mackay/48b9177f-4af4-4ce9-9bb8-ae8d6753f9f3

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