Research Reports and Publications

Since 2003, the Edmund Rice Centre has published a number of reports as part of our Deported to Danger research project. 


The Responsibility to Protect - July 2017

This report is the continuation of ERC’s determination to investigate Australia’s most recent deportations to Afghanistan by providing an overview of Afghanistan’s current security, political, and socio-economic situation, the drivers and trends of migration, and the returnees’ experience, compiled from both primary and secondary sources. The sources selected for preparing this report include scholarly analysis, expert commentary, government and international organisations’ documents, officials’ statements, and newspaper reports as well as conducting interviews with experts and practitioners working at national and international development agencies in Afghanistan. In addition to relying on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, a number of deported Afghans from Australia, Europe and other countries have been interviewed in the context of returnees’ experience in order to broaden the focus of the report.

The report concludes that it would be impossible for Australian, European and other governments to guarantee the safety of Afghan returnees in this period of instability. Afghanistan is currently experiencing widespread conflict, intensifying violence, political instability, human rights abuses, lack of rule of law and good governance, economic hardships, and a serious refugee crisis. This has led to a situation whereby many Afghan people have been forced to leave their country and seek refuge in foreign nations in numbers that have not been seen since 2001. Between 2015 and 2016, tens of thousands of Afghans fled their homes in the hope of seeking asylum in Europe and other parts of the world. What is clear is that Afghans are leaving their country for a mixture of reasons, including political, security and economic, and it is not as simple as to claim that they are only leaving because of economic reasons.

Download The Responsibility to Protect


Afghanistan Situation Report - March 2017

There are significant number of Afghan people seeking asylum in Australia and in Australia's offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru. At the same time, the security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and conflict has become more intense throughout the country. The Taliban and other armed opposition groups have expanded their control and influence over many regions of Afghanistan. This has resulted in a huge refugee crisis as tens of thousands of Afghans left the country in 2015 and 2016 in the hope of seeking refuge in Europe, Australia and other parts of the world.

Ironically, many of the Afghans’ asylum applications have been rejected by those countries, claiming that most of Afghans are economic immigrants rather than refugees. However, simply sending people back is not the solution as deportees require settlement options that are sustainable, and the Afghan government has been incapable of protecting its citizens against armed opposition groups, warlords and criminal bands. Ultimately, Afghanistan needs peace with strong commitment and continuous support from the international community to stay the course. 

This Situation Report has been developed based on primary and secondary information and is a useful resource for lawyers, refugee advocates, academics, journalists and anyone interested in the situation in Afghanistan. 

Download ERC Afghanistan Situation Report March 2017.


 Failed asylum seekers: Sri Lanka -- Research Update 2, May 2015  

Since 2003 the Edmund Rice Centre has maintained a program of systematic research to uncover what happens to the asylum seekers rejected by Australia. A key focal area of that work in recent years has been the situation of failed asylum seekers from Sri Lanka.

ERC's published an Interim Research Update on deportations to Sri Lanka in Aug 2014. Many other reports up to that time recounted the mistreatment of failed asylum seekers of Tamil background. However ERC's report provided evidence that upon their return to Sri Lanka, failed asylum seekers of Sinhalese background have also suffered cruel and degrading treatment. Additionally, the mistreatment reported has not been restricted to those who have been involuntarily returned.

ERC Deportations Research May 2015 Update provides evidence from two recent cases of which we are currently able to report publicly. The two cases have in common the following elements which disturbingly, contradict Australian officials' claims that it is safe for Tamil asylum seekers to return:-

  • Prior to their removal both men had informed Australian officials that they were suspected of having links to the LTTE;
  • When they were disbelieved or their fears were trivialised, they were returned to face interrogations with torture about the same matters: 
    • the details of their escape by boat to Australia, 
    • what they said to Australian officials, and 
    • which LTTE members they met or knew in Australia;
    • Both have credible evidence as to the effects of the torture they have suffered.

Download ERC Deportations Research Update 2: Returnees to Sri Lanka May 2015


Failed asylum seekers: Sri Lanka -- Interim Research Update, August 2014 

Through its Deportations Research program the Edmund Rice Centre has since 2002 conducted considerable research to determine what happens to the asylum seekers that Australia rejects. That research has to date seen the publication of two major reports. 

Out of grave concern formed from revelations of the ongoing and systemic mistreatment of asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka, evidence collected by ERC is made available here in this Interim Research Update in the form of the following case note summaries. 

Reports of the dangers faced by returned asylum seekers to Sri Lanka have largely been limited to those with a Tamil background. The Edmund Rice Centre can report that failed asylum seekers also of Sinhalese background have suffered cruel and degrading treatment on their return to Sri Lanka. Mistreatment is not restricted to those who are involuntarily returned. 

In 2014, these allegations are borne out in a number cases of returned failed asylum-seekers in the entire period since the UN Committee Against Torture expressed concerns in 2011.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Australia is well aware that those charged in Sri Lanka under S45C of the country's Immigrants and Emigrants Act may be held without bail for an indefinite period of time.  This ERC Interim Research Update confirms that a practice of indefinite detention is being systematically conducted by Sri Lanka.

Download ERC Interim Research Update: Returnees to Sri Lanka August 2014 

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Deported to Danger II - September 2006

Deported to Danger II - The Continuing Study of Australia's Treatment of Rejected Asylum Seekers - September 2006

Download here. 

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Deported To Danger - September 2004

Deported to Danger - A Study of Australia's Treatment of 40 Rejected Asylum Seekers.

Download here.  

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Deported To Danger - No Liability - October 2003

No Liability - Tragic Results from Australia's Deportations (Interim Report).

Download here.

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Download - Background Briefing on False Passport Allegations - October 2003


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