The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) and the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) have co-filed a shareholder resolution calling on Qantas to stop deportations and removals to danger. Activities which are of concern include:
- Deportations and removals, where the risks of irreparable harm are most acute; this concern relates to a distinct group of refugees and asylum seekers denied a proper legal process to make claims to refugee status in Australia; and
- Transporting people between places of indefinite detention (both onshore and offshore), where complicity in human rights violations is all but assured.
Qantas has failed to adequately deal with these issues in the past. In 2015, Jasmine Pilbrow who was travelling on a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Darwin acted to prevent a Tamil asylum seeker on board the flight from being deported to Sri Lanka. Qantas responded by charging Ms Pilbrow under the Civil Aviation Act, and was ordered to pay a $3500 fine to Qantas. Her and two other passengers were issued with lifetime bans from Qantas.
ACCR and RACS called on Qantas to join with other airlines in refusing to deport people to danger:
- In June 2018, six US airlines announced their refusal to participate in transporting children who have been separated from their families at US borders.
- In June 2018, Virgin airlines in the UK announced that it would ‘end all involuntary deportations on [the Virgin Atlantic] network’, from August 1, 2018.
- In the UK, Germany and Israel individual pilots have refused to personally participate in forced deportations.
At the Qantas AGM which took place on Friday 26 October in Brisbane, proxies were instructed to vote on the resolution that was lodged by the ACCR. The proxy voting results were 6.43% FOR our resolution on human rights due diligence. Read the full results here.
Thank you to each of our supportive shareholders for getting this resolution over the line.
Refugee Advice and Casework Service is a community legal centre, representing refugees and asylum seekers in detention and in the Australian community. People who come to Australia seeking asylum are amongst the most vulnerable people who come into contact with Australia’s legal and migration system. RACS’ core work is to help people present their cases properly to Australian decision-makers.
- Expert Statement regarding Deportations to Danger
- ITF Statement on forced deportations
- Draft Resolution and Supporting Statement
- ACCR Investor Briefing
- RACS Briefing Note
- Shareholder action under consideration over Qantas’ position on asylum and refugee deportation
- ACCR to file shareholder resolution calling on Qantas to end deportations to danger
- Qantas to face shareholders at AGM – deportations to danger
- Qantas responds to deportations to danger – out of step with investors and international law
- Airlines at risk of engaging in human rights abuses as more asylum seekers and refugees await removal to Sri Lanka