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.
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.
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.
It is a criminal offence for a person to intentionally enter, or remain in, al-Raqqa where the person is reckless that the area is declared unless it is solely for a legitimate purpose or purposes.
The terrorist group ISIL is engaged in hostile activities in al-Raqqa province, which include the extensive use of terrorist attacks against civilians and assassinations, executions and attacks targeting Syrian government officials, politicians, soldiers and police.
By prohibiting individuals travelling to areas where terrorist organisations are known to be engaging in hostile activities, this declaration responds to the significant threat to Australia and our way of life from returning foreign fighters and supporters of foreign conflicts.
The al-Raqqa province is east of the Syrian province of Aleppo and shares its northern border with Turkey The al-Raqqa province in Syria is also known as Ar Raqqah province.
The al-Raqqa province is the area outlined as ‘al Raqqa’ in the maps below. Click for full size image.