Children’s Rights and Crimmigration Controls: Examining Australia’s Treatment of Unaccompanied Minors

Joseph Lelliott - Crimmigration in Australia


Australia’s approach to combating migrant smuggling and deterring irregular migration involves the use of extensive coercive, carceral, and punitive powers. It also severely limits the human rights of migrants who arrive in Australia by sea and without authorisation. The measures that underpin this approach, including maritime interdiction, immigration detention, regional processing, and the use of temporary protection visas, amount to a framework of crimmigration control. This chapter charts the application and impact of these measures on unaccompanied minors, a particularly vulnerable category of migrants. It analyses ways in which Australia’s treatment of such minors departs from its obligations under international law and breaches their human rights. In doing so, this chapter reflects on the dynamics that allow Australia’s crimmigration framework to marginalise child protection concerns and operate largely unrestricted by rights-based constraints.