16 October 2023
We’re excited to announce that Alison and Human Rights For All have been selected as a finalist for the 2023 Human Rights Awards, in the Law Category, alongside several other finalists.
Every year the Australian Human Rights Commission holds the awards to acknowledge, congratulate and share the important work of organisations, businesses, and individuals across the nation. See the full list of finalists here.
We are honoured to have been selected and look forward to attending the awards ceremony at the University of Technology, Sydney on Friday 8 December at 5:30pm. You can book tickets here: https://events.humanitix.com/human-rights-awards-2023
If you’ll be in Sydney on that day, we hope you’ll be able to join us to help celebrate this honour as well as the contributions of other human rights advocates from across Australia. If you aren'tcan’t be in Sydney, the event will also be live streamed, and you’ll be able to tune in online.
15 February 2023
We are very pleased to announce that Human Rights For All has been recognised by the Lawyer Monthly Awards!
Alison Battisson is the recipient of the Australian Human Rights Law, Lawyer of the Year for 2022. We work as a team at Human Rights For All and so this is an award for our whole team and our supporters.
This award recognises the significant work Human Rights For All did in 2022, including freeing refugees from the infamous Park Hotel and successfully representing refugees and stateless people in immigration prison through all stages of the refugee status determination process. We were thrilled, for example, that in late 2022, six of our Bangladeshi friends and clients who had been imprisoned for more than a total of 60 years were finally free.
In 2023, Human Rights For All will focus on seemingly intractable detention cases, stateless and First Nations people in immigration prison and people who have lost their identities.
In our spare time, the team continues to work to bring Afghans at risk to safety in Australia. Since the fall of Kabul in August 2021, Human Rights For All has assisted over 150 people to Australia, including athletes, human rights advocates, female judges and many others.
You can see Alison's page in Lawyer Monthly here.
December 2022 update
As so much has happened during the last year, we provide here an update of what we have achieved over the course of the previous 12 months:
For well over a year, dozens of men had been held in Melbourne's Park Hotel, on the fringe of the CBD. They were migrated there from another Melbourne hotel after being brought to Australia from Nauru and Manus Island under the short-lived "Medevac" legislation to receive medical treatment for various conditions. Despite daily demonstrations by refugee advocates, the odd media interview with one or other of the men detained, and some completely random releases on visas for a few men here or there, their ongoing limbo appeared to be, like the majority of those in Australian immigration detention, endless.
That changed in early January 2022 when the world's number one male tennis player, Serbian citizen Novak Djokovic, arrived in Melbourne to play in the Australian Open tournament. A well-known anti-vaccination advocate, Djokovic claimed to have an exemption from the requirement to be vaccinated before entering Australia. His paperwork for this was deemed to be insufficient, and he was detained in the Park Hotel alongside the asylum seekers.
HR4A started with one client at Park last year, "Don Khan", and through word of mouth amongst the men, picked up several more, including Mehdi and Adnan. These two gentlemen are cousins and travelled to Australia at age 15 seeking safety from the hardline regime in Iran. They had spent over a third of their young lives in immigration detention. Mehdi and Adnan became two of the faces of the campaign to draw attention to everyone whose lives have been stuck in limbo for years on end.
Crowdfunding organisation Chuffed approached HR4A offering to sponsor us in a fundraising campaign to help support our work with the men in the Park Hotel prison. With the glare of media attention surrounding Djokovic's detention and court actions (which occurred with a speed that our clients could only dream of!), this campaign took off and helped us to raise enough funds to allow us to take on Eric, our volunteer junior lawyer, as a paid employee.
In part due to the extensive media coverage which highlighted the punitive and unsafe conditions our clients and their comrades were held in, the Park Hotel was closed as an Alternative Place of Detention (APOD), and most of the men were released into the community. Unfortunately, there are some who were simply moved to immigration detention centres, and are still up against the system. They are bewildered that many of their friends have been granted bridging visas while they remain detained. We still have a number of clients still detained, but Don Khan, Mehdi and Adnan are finally free, and in Mehdi and Adnan's case, are now safely in the USA. Australia is the poorer for re-deporting young men like these, but we are of course happy and relieved that they can now resume their lives in safety and peace.
With the connection to the Park Hotel, Alison was approached to speak at the Women's Inspirational Series event at the Australian Open at the end of January 2022. She highlighted the plight of Mehdi and Adnan and the men held in immigration detention for up to 9 years and counting, and was feted by Melbourne's Herald-Sun as a "rockstar humanitarian" (we agree!).
Ali had a number of significant speaking engagements in 2022, including an event for the Carlton Football Club in Melbourne for their Leaders of Industry evening. She spoke of our ongoing work on all fronts, and her speech was very warmly received.
Alison was also recognised in the 2022 NSW Women of the Year Awards with a Local Woman of the Year award in her local electorate of Davidson.
Many of the young athletes that we helped to get out of Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul last year are embracing their new lives in Australia. Several of the women's football team are based in Melbourne, and have been offered jobs in noted Melbourne restaurant, Tonka. They are also playing football again with teams in Melbourne.
The Afghan female karate champion, who escaped Afghanistan with her young family is also doing well. They are based in Sydney, and her husband is working, the children have started school and she is studying at TAFE.
In November, we were thrilled that one of our Invictus Games athletes was reunited with his wife and family, who managed to escape from Afghanistan. Since the athletes defected, all of their families have been at high risk of persecution by the Taliban, and we hope that in the near future, the rest will receive their visas and come to safety here.
Moving into 2023, our focus will be on the more intractable cases of long term detainees, the plight of stateless people, and those with identity issues through no fault of their own.
22 December 2021
Amazing news, and something we're very proud of. After several years of submissions to the UN, particularly the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (for which all opinions involving Australia handed down by the Working Group were for our cases), we have just received confirmation that Human Rights For All has been granted Special Consultative Status by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This allows NGOs like HR4A to designate representatives to attend, appear at and observe at the UN in New York and Geneva. This is a pretty big deal, which will allow us to continue to highlight the issues around long-term and arbitrary immigration detention in Australia.
28 September 2020
On September 11, 2020, Justice Bromberg of the Federal Court of Australia found that our client, AJL20, had been held unlawfully in detention, and ordered the Commonwealth to release him on a writ of habeas corpus. Issuing this writ to free this man has created Australian legal history! You can read the case summary below:
In September 2020, the Australian Human Rights Commission delivered a report to the Attorney-General on a complaint made by our client, Mr AC, against the Department of Home Affairs that his now 7 year detention is arbitrary. This report has just been released. Read the details here.
8 August 2020
Further to the Senate submission made by Human Rights For All in June challenging the proposed classification of phones as contraband in immigration detention, our submission has been included in the list published on the Parliament House website. You can read the submission and Serco's response here.
9 June 2020
On June 9, 2020, Human Rights for All made a Senate submission challenging the proposed classification of phones as contraband in immigration detention facilities. We encourage you to do the same before the closing date of June 11. Click below to submit:
18 March 2020
HR4A submission provides alternatives to loss of freedom for refugees and the stateless.
20 November 2019
Human Rights For All were fortunate to receive a Capacity Grant from Uniting's Innovative Community Grants fund recently, which has enabled us to invest in some additional laptops and equipment. This assists us in our work by providing extra resources to our staff and paralegals, which gives us extended capacity to provide legal services to vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees in detention. HR4A would like to thank Uniting ICGF very much for this grant, and also our ongoing supporters at Gordon Pymble Uniting Church for everything that they have done and continue to do to assist us in our work.
28 October 2016
In 2016, HR4A with other lawyers and academics, submitted a Communique to the International Criminal Court. The response has finally been received….four years later.
Read the details here.