While some countries in the world are land-locked, the State of Qatar is ‘air-locked’: its airspace is surrounded on all sides by the respective zones of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. On June 5, 2017, these same three states broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar, and closed their airspaces to all flights flying in and out of the country, with the exception of a single air corridor through Bahraini airspace. This post looks at the international legal framework of this issue, and whether these states have the legal right to enforce such prohibitions.
By Grant Kynaston and Harry Rogers (SCIL Interns)
On September 6, 2007, the Attorney-General at the time, Philip Ruddock, signed the Treaty on Extradition between Australia and the People’s Republic of China (“the Treaty”). Almost ten years later, it is still not in force. On March 28, 2017, following its latest attempt to secure its ratification, the Federal Government was compelled to withdraw the Treaty from parliamentary consideration, after it became clear that the Senate was likely to disallow regulations necessary for its domestic implementation. Nonetheless, the Government remains committed to its ratification: until the Treaty enters into force, Australia will continue to lack a clear framework for dealing with those extradition requests from China that do not fall under existing multilateral conventions to which both countries are party. However, it is argued that the Treaty, as it stands, lacks sufficient protections against unjust extraditions, and the Government’s counter-argument, that Ministerial discretion provides a final veto on extradition requests, is questionable in its efficacy under Australian law.
On 20 March, 2017, a treaty was tabled with the Commonwealth Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT), proposing the withdrawal of one of Australia’s two reservations to the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This reservation excludes the effect of the Convention insofar as it would require the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to change its policy excluding women from combat duties. The withdrawal of this reservation is a very welcome development in Australia’s approach to sex discrimination, and brings Australia in line with the broad aims of the Convention, by foreclosing the possibility that policy may allow service and promotion in combat roles to be dictated by sex, rather than ability.