LAW 2432_drafting a communication to the UN Human Rights Committee memorandum of advice
You are a lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre in Melbourne.
• The Director has handed you a file containing the factual scenario set out on the
following page, and asked you to draft a communication to the UN Human Rights
Committee on behalf of the individual concerned.
• This communication must be no more than 3000 words in length (excluding references)
and you must adhere to standard university policies regarding plagiarism and
referencing (see the Course Guide for further information). The advice must be
supported with appropriate citations and include a reference list at the end. Where
possible, please use AGLC 4 referencing standards. If any international law sources are
not featured in AGLC, the UN should have suggested citation conventions.
• This assignment is worth 40% of your final mark for the course and will be marked out
• This memorandum of advice is due Sunday 13th of January 2019, unless an extension is
granted. It is to be submitted through TurnItIn in your online learning environment.
• You are to focus on issues arising from international human rights law, and only discuss
Australian law to the extent necessary to make your international law points.
• Further specific instructions are at the end of the factual scenario below.
Nanette Popovic is 25 years old. Although she was born in Croatia in 1993, her parents
moved to Australia with her when she was 2, and she has not visited Croatia since. She has
no surviving relatives there.
After several years in Australia, Nanette’s whole family was granted Permanent Residence.
They assumed that permanent meant just that, and had never really considered the need to
apply for citizenship.
Unfortunately, Nanette’s life took a turn for the worse when she commenced university
later that year. She became involved in the drug trade, and was eventually arrested in 2015
with a ‘traffickable quantity’ of MDMA. She was sentenced to 2 years’ imprisonment. After
serving her sentence, Nanette vowed to get her life back on track, and resumed her
university studies. She also got a part-time job at a local newsagency and began to volunteer
on the weekends at a rehabilitation clinic.
However, in August 2018, the Minister for Home Affairs, as part of an ongoing crackdown on
‘undesirable elements in our society,’ cancelled Nanette’s permanent visa. The letter from
the Minister’s Department came as a considerable shock to Nanette and her parents, as
they had all assumed she was a naturalised Australian.
Nanette wrote immediately to the Department of Home Affairs to apply to have the
decision to cancel her visa reconsidered, outlining her long-standing connection to this
country (and corresponding lack of any connection to Croatia), her determination to turn
her life around and good behaviour since being released from prison in early 2017.
However, this appeal was unsuccessful and Nanette was detained at Maribyrnong
Immigration Detention Centre. She was informed that she would be deported to Croatia
Nanette asked her parents to consult a lawyer, but they did not have the means to engage a
private solicitor. They contacted Victoria Legal Aid and the Refugee and Immigration Legal
Centre (RILC), but neither was able to help Nanette within the statutory 9 day timeframe to
lodge a further appeal to the AAT. This avenue is now closed by operation of law.
Croatia’s diplomatic objections that Nanette was surely Australia’s responsibility, and that
she could not even speak Croatian so would be effectively unable to work and live a decent
life, fell on deaf ears. The Australian Government insisted on the deportation as Nanette
was officially a citizen of Croatia – a fact which the Croatian Government reluctantly
confirmed. Nanette was deported to Croatia on 1 December 2018.
A RILC lawyer finally got to Nanette’s file on 5 December 2018 and called her parents to
check on her status. They informed him of her deportation, and explained that they were
distressed and suffering greatly – as was Nanette. The lawyer said he was very sorry, but
that similar deportations had become increasingly common in the last few years. Nanette’s
parents asked about the possibility of a court appeal to get her back, but the lawyer
informed them that the High Court had ruled this kind of process legal (at least under
Australian law) in late 2006 – even for those who had been in Australia for almost all of their
On the RILC lawyer’s advice, Nanette’s parents contact the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC)
and explain that they would like to make a complaint to the United Nations on Nanette’s
You have now been given the task of drafting a Communication to the Human Rights
Committee about Nanette’s treatment by the Australian Government. The Director
suggests you begin by researching similar cases and examining submissions prepared by
your colleagues in the past. You will then need to determine which of Nanette’s ICCPR
rights might have been breached by Australia, and how.
You are to focus your research on the ICCPR, Human Rights Committee jurisprudence
(Views) & Rules of Procedure. Other international law relating to citizenship status etc
may also be considered, but should not be a primary focus. Only consider eg the operation
of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) or other Australian law/procedure if you feel it is
necessary to support your ICCPR-based arguments (eg regarding admissibility).
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