The challenge of ‘COVID-19 free’ Australia : international travel restrictions and stranded citizens

Olivera Simic, Kim Rubenstein

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper uses Australia as a case study to analyse restrictions on international movement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions on inbound and outbound travel have been a key tool deployed by governments across the globe to suppress the COVID-19 pandemic. We use ‘COVID zero’ Australia as a case study to assess an extreme response to restricting international movement. We look at the recent complaint launched before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The action was raised with the support of a group of Australian citizens stranded abroad with the assistance of the expert in Australian constitutional law who is the second author of this paper. We argue that the measures implemented by Australian governments to effectively eliminate COVID-19 domestically have provided insufficient consideration of, and alternatives to, the current system’s failure to facilitate essential international travel. For this reason, Australia’s framework for restricting international movement lacks proportionality and necessity from the perspective of human rights and freedoms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)830-843
    Number of pages14
    JournalThe International Journal of Human Rights
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2023


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