Diplomatic Immunity


Drew Pavlou, the UQ student who has become a high profile human rights activist (at great personal cost) has lost a court case where he accused the PRC consul of inciting violence against him. The case was lost on the issue of diplomatic immunity.

Like most people of my generation, the term diplomatic immunity raises the spectre of the villains in Lethal Weapon 2.

More seriously however, if the PRC consul in Queensland has been inciting violence against human rights protesters, then the issue is one as to whether another aspect of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations has been violated.

This convention not only provides for diplomatic immunity for consuls, but also places an obligation on such diplomatic missions not to interfere with the internal affairs of the host state. Article 55.1 of that convention requires such people not only to respect the laws of the host nation, but places ‘a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of the State’.

I wonder whether the issue as to whether the alleged abuse of diplomatic immunity in this way is going to be explored further. The Trump administration has been closing PRC consulates in the USA. Perhaps our national security will require us to start doing likewise.

Published by Ernest Zanatta

Narrow minded Italian Catholic Conservative Peasant from Footscray.

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