Professor Klaus Neumann – Current Research Project

Professor Klaus Neumann is currently undertaking a research project funded by an ARC Discovery award titled ‘Protecting Non-Citizens: An Australian Legal and Political History’.

Chief investigators: Klaus Neumann (Deakin) and Associate Professor Savitri Taylor (Law School, La Trobe University)

The protection needs of millions of people who are de jure or de facto stateless have presented a seemingly intractable global challenge for close to a century. This project is the first comprehensive analysis of Australia’s response to that challenge. Using legal and historical methodology, and with particular reference to the period 1945 to 1989, this project investigates Australia’s contribution to international discussions about the right and/or duty of states to provide surrogate protection to non-citizens. It also analyses the impact of emerging international legal norms on Australian asylum seeker policy and administrative practice, and the conflicting interests within government that informed policy decisions.

Research so far:

We have done extensive archival research at the National Archives of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the UNHCR archives in Geneva, and the archives of the United Nations Office Geneva (UNOG). We have been particularly interested in a 1977 conference of plenipotentiaries in Geneva, that was convened to draft a Convention on Territorial Asylum (which would have complemented the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees). We have also investigated the intersections between Australia’s involvement in international discussions about the rights of and to asylum and Australian government responses to requests for political asylum in Australia.

Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov were among the few people who were granted political asylum (rather than protection as refugees) in Australia.

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