About Refugee Rights Watch

Refugee Rights Watch is a project of the Refugee Rights Network to gather and track reports of incidents and abuses involving asylum seekers and refugees within the Australian immigration system.  Its goal is to capture and aggregate reports and information already on the public record, where possible, and to complement those reports with information obtained from asylum seekers, advocates, activists and legal representatives when that is not possible.

To download the public portions of the reports, click on the Download Reports tab.  To sign up for a general account (which will allow you to create alerts), you can request an account via the login page; if you would like access to the full reports, please send us a message via the Contact Us page explaining your affiliation.

To get involved in the campaign more generally, visit the refugee-rights.net site to find a group near you.


Plans for this Site

At the moment, this site is in the early stages of user testing. While it should be reasonably usable and stable, this does mean that the following may be changed based upon user feedback:

  • incident categories and their descriptions;
  • the fields and kinds of information requested on the report submission page; and
  • the look and feel of the site itself.

Also on our to-do list are the following things:

  • modifications to the 'Download Reports' module so all public fields can be downloaded by members and non-members alike;
  • modifications to the system so evidentiary documents can be uploaded while making the report; and
  • the creation of documentation and tutorial videos that explain how to file reports and query the system.

And if you would like to help with any of the above — particularly if you have coding and/or design experience — please let us know; you can also learn more about the project (and download a snapshot of this site) here.

Guiding Principles

As mentioned above, this site is still in its very early days and, as such, its guiding principles and editorial editorial policy will undoubtedly be changed and refined.  That said, the vision for this site and, thus, the guidelines for this project, and for what information should and should not be reported are currently based on the following views:

  1. That the publicly-accessible reports should, at a minimum, reference an official report, an article published by a significant news bureau or service, or an analysis of an official report or publication.  Where this is not possible — say, in the case of deportation alerts or for some allegations of assault or medical negligence — reports may still be published if they, or evidence of the allegations, were witnessed by a member of an advocacy or activist group; in these cases, though, the reports will be listed as unverified, and the source of the report, together with their account, will be recorded separately.
  2. That despite this site's obvious focus and goals, the reports themselves should stick to the details of the incidents — it is a documentation and aggregation site, not a forum for opinions or debate.  That said, we hope it will prove to be a valuable resource for journalists, researchers, political groups and individuals who can use its records to support their arguments and analyses.
  3. That being based on publicly available information submitted by groups of volunteers, the collection should belong to the community.  While the data export functionality is still being developed, the goal is have a database that any visitor can download; the only exception to this will be the private fields that describe the source type or include potentially sensitive or identifying information.
  4. That for this site to succeed, it needs to be used, and contributed to, by people from a range of groups and sectors — advocacy, activist, research, media and political.
  5. That this site is being offered as a service to the community.  There are no subscription fees, and for as long as this site is operational, the data will always be available, for free; even if this site is shutdown, another can take its place as the data is in the public domain.


Acknowledgements

While our hope is that the data on this site will, one day, be based on contributions from a large group of collaborators, we would like to acknowledge the following groups for their help in providing a significant amount of data and/or for contributing to this site in its early days:


And for those interested in similar, or related sites, you can check out the following: