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 Declared area offence

The offence of entering, or remaining in, a declared area is located at section 119.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. The provision makes it an offence for a person to intentionally enter, or remain in, a declared area in a foreign country where the person knows, or should know, that the area is a declared area. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs may declare an area in a foreign country if they are satisfied that a listed terrorist organisation is engaging in a hostile activity in that area.

The government is concerned about Australians who travel to conflict zones and return to Australia with skills and intentions acquired from fighting or training with terrorist groups. The areas targeted by the ‘declared area’ provisions are extremely dangerous locations in which listed terrorist organisations are engaging in hostile activities. 

For more information about the declared area offence, go to the Frequently asked questions page.

For more information on the process and requirements that apply to the declaration of an area, go to the Protocol for declaring an area page.

If the Minister for Foreign Affairs declares an area, information about that declaration, including the Statement of Reasons in support of the declaration, will be available on this page.

Declared areas

Mosul district, Ninewa province in Iraq

On 2 March 2015, the Minister for Foreign Affairs declared Mosul district in the Ninewa province of Iraq as an area where a listed terrorist organisation is engaging in hostile activity. The declaration came into effect on 3 March 2015.

It is a criminal offence for a person to intentionally enter, or remain in Mosul district where the person is reckless that the area is declared unless it is solely for a legitimate purpose or purposes.

Advice from Australia’s security and intelligence agencies, and those of our international partners, as well as daily media reports from around the world, clearly indicate that the terrorist group ISIL is engaged in hostile activities in the district of Mosul. This includes executions, the intimidation of religious and ethnic minorities and the destruction of places of worship.

This declaration is the second declaration under the new laws and responds to the urgent need to declare ISIL’s base of operations in Iraq—the district of Mosul in the province of Ninewa. As the largest city in Iraq controlled by ISIL, Mosul plays a key role as a central location for foreign extremists—including Australians—to form networks and train.

Mosul district is situated in northern Iraq’s Ninewa province on the west bank of the Tigris River. Mosul district is bordered by the districts of Al Hadr, Tall Afar, Tall Kayf and Al Hamdaniyah in Ninewa province and the provinces of Arbil and Salah ad Din.

Mosul district is the area outlined as ‘Mosul’ in the maps below. Click for full size image.

Map of the Mosmul district, Iraq, ISIL Declared areaMap of the Mosmul district, Iraq, ISIL Declared area and surrounding countries: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Kuwait  

Al-Raqqa province in Syria

On  4 December 2014 the Minister for Foreign Affairs declared al-Raqqa province in Syria as an area where a listed terrorist organisation is engaging in hostile activity. The declaration came into effect on 5 December 2014.

On 27 November 2017, the Minister for Foreign Affairs revoked the declaration of al-Raqqa province under subsection 119.3(5).

While it is no longer a criminal offence to enter or remain in al-Raqqa province, the security situation continues to be extremely dangerous and Syria remains a ‘do not travel’ destination. Australian Government consular assistance is not available in Syria.

Those who entered or remained in al-Raqqa province between 5 December 2014 to 28 November 2017, will still be subject to possible investigation, arrest and prosecution by Australian authorities for violations of declared area laws. It remains illegal for Australian citizens to provide any kind of support to, or to fight with, any armed group in Syria.

The al-Raqqa province is the area outlined as ‘al Raqqa’ in the maps below. Click for full size image.

Syrian Provience map Syrian Provience map