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Update: Re: Probha and DG, National Archives of Australia

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Update on Re: Probha and Director-General, National Archives of Australia

November 22, 2023 Raymond Salomonn Comments Off

This morning, a directions hearing in the matter of Re: Probha v. Director-General, National Archives of Australia was held at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The Hon John Pascoe AC CVO, Deputy President of the Tribunal, presided over the hearing.

Directions Order, Re: Probha and Director-General, National Archives of Australia
Directions Order made on 22 November 2023, in the matter of Re: Probha and Director-General, National Archives of Australia

Today’s proceeding was in relation to three Commonwealth records on the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, which are now awaiting further consultation with a foreign government. At this stage, it is not known which foreign government is involved in the consultation. However, the records that were subjected to today’s hearing were all related to Bangladesh, Pakistan and 1971 crisis. However, the title of these records are following:

  • Pakistan – 1971 crisis (date range: 25 Nov 1971 – 22 Dec 1971)
  • Bangladesh – Relations with Pakistan (date range: 1972-1972)
  • Bangladesh – Relations with Pakistan (date range: 1972-1972)

Deputy President Pascoe directed that the Respondent is to make decisions on the Applicant’s applications for access to these three Commonwealth records on or before 22 December 2023.

The date for the next directions hearing that the Tribunal set is January 18, 2024. In addition to these three records, on the same date, twelve other proceedings that were initiated by the applicant, will be reviewed, where the Commonwealth has chosen to exempt records related to the tragic events that took place in the Indian subcontinent in 1971 leading to the liberation of Bangladesh.

Under section 33(1)(a) of the Archives Act 1983 (Cth), which empowers the National Archives of Australia to exempt information or matter the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the security, defence or international relations of the Commonwealth, the Respondent is categorically denying access to the vast majority of Commonwealth records related to the genocide of Bengali people for the fear of jeopardising Australia’s international relations.

A lot of the records related to the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 held by the National Archives of Australia are not examined yet.

Sydney based registered migration agent Raymond Salomonn of Salomonn Migration & Advocacy, acting for the applicant appeader before the Tribunal. The Respondent, National Archives of Australia was represented by Ms Louise Futol of the Australian Government Solicitors.

While Mr. Salomonn’s expertise primarily lies in Australian immigration and citizenship, he also handles issues concerning privacy, freedom of information, and the operations of the National Archives of Australia.