Speaking to The Age, Joseph referenced the threat Canberra made in May 2021 to penalize 10,000 Australians for "the mere act of coming home" after being stranded in India. She called the measure "a low point" that undermined Australians' basic rights to life and health.
"That measure may have helped protect people in Australia, but it made things much more dangerous for Australians in India – especially given the shortages of basic resources like oxygen in [India's] hospitals at the time," Joseph said.
"Australia is unique in banning its citizens from traveling overseas at this time," she continued. "Not even New Zealand has done that. And that measure cannot be justified on the basis of public health. People do not threaten Australia by leaving the country." Australia also banned citizens from leaving the country– a measure also implemented by North Korea – back in March 2020.
"Australia might be accused of throwing stones in glass houses," Joseph ultimately remarked.
International Service for Human Rights Director Phil Lynch said Australia's abandonment of its citizens abroad had "revealed values of insularity, isolationism and discrimination." He added that Australians at home and abroad "are paying a very high price" for the obsession of Canberra and the state governments to eliminate COVID-19.
"A human rights-based approach to [COVID-19] requires that all measures be reasonable, necessary and proportionate. It requires not only steps to protect public health, but also to ensure respect for rights that Australian governments have seemed all too willing to sacrifice in their obsession with zero [COVID-19 cases]," Lynch remarked. (Related: MEDICAL POLICE STATE TYRANNY: Australian police smash down the door of a man and violently arrest him for mentioning anti-lockdown protest.)
Joseph and Lynch's comments contradict a statement made by the Australian Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva Sally Mansfield. During the recently concluded 47th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Mansfield remarked that governments "must ensure COVID-19 response measures comply with international human rights obligations."
"We reiterate our concerns that some states are taking advantage of COVID-19 to undermine or supplant established human rights," she added.
But Joseph said that the law threatening punishment for returning Australians was in stark contrast to Mansfield's remarks. Invoked under the Biosecurity Act of 2015, the emergency law penalizes citizens flying back home with up to five years behind bars or a fine of AU$66,000 (US$50,110).
Australian Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt invoked the Biosecurity Act following the advice of federal Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly. This was the first time Canberra used any kind of emergency powers to stop Australian citizens from returning home.
Australia is no stranger to draconian measures. In November 2020, the state of South Australia ordered a six-day "circuit breaker" lockdown following an outbreak of COVID-19 at the state's capital Adelaide. The restrictions faced by South Australians under the lockdown included bans on outdoor exercise and even just walking their dogs. It also only allowed one person per household to go outside the home daily for "essential reasons."
One Twitter user reached out to the South Australia Police to clarify the new measures. The user asked if she was allowed to walk her dog outside to defecate. The police department replied in the negative, saying that she cannot leave the house to walk the dog or to exercise. (Related: Walking your dog outside – and be punished – under new lockdown mandate in Australia.)
Visit MedicalTyranny.com to read more stories about Australia's draconian measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.