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UPDATE 3/5/2021: In response to the COVID-19 crisis in India, the Australian government has threatened to send anyone who returns to Australia from India to prison for up to five years. Instead of making it harder for #StrandedAussies to come home, the government should be doing everything they can to make it safer for them to return.

UPDATE 16/4/2021: The United Nations Human Rights Committee has stated that the Australian government should ‘facilitate and ensure [#StrandedAussies] prompt return to Australia.

There are thousands of Australians stranded overseas, unable to come home, due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19. This includes many families that have been separated, and others unable to be with sick and dying relatives.

Leaving people stranded overseas is a breach of their human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights say that everyone has the right to return home to their country, and shall never be deprived of the right to enter their own country.

The problem is that the government has introduced a cap on how many people can return to Australia per week. The cap was introduced so that there were enough facilities in Australia for returnees to isolate. The answer is simple: by increasing the capacity to allow people to isolate, you can increase (or remove) the cap, and get people home. 

To get Australians home, the government should:

  • Support the states and territories to increase the capacity of their existing quarantine programmes
  • Use federal quarantine facilities to allow people to isolate, and build new facilities where needed
  • Significantly raise, or remove, the cap on the amount of Australians who can return home per week
  • Work with the airlines to maximise the number of flights coming to Australia, and to prioritise returning Australians
  • Charter additional flights

Take action now to bring home the thousands of Australians stranded overseas away from their families.