World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


High hopes for full High Court hearing on asylum seeker boat

Wednesday 9 July 2014

High hopes for full High Court hearing on asylum seeker boat

Amnesty International expresses relief that High Court deliberations have put the transfer of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka's Navy in doubt, a plan that if enacted, would put Australia in blatant breach of international law and set a dangerous precedent.

The comments follow an application that was brought on behalf of 153 Sri Lankan asylum seekers recently intercepted by the Australian Navy on their way from India.

“The decision that the whole High Court will hear the challenge reflects the gravity of the Australian government’s deeply concerning proposal to return asylum seekers to a country where their lives may be at serious risk,” said Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Spokesperson Graeme McGregor.

“The Government’s temporary commitment they will not transfer the asylum seekers to Sri Lanka without giving 72 hours notice is a small step in the right direction, but the asylum seekers remain indefinitely held at sea, setting a dangerous precedent.

“Throughout this process, the Government has continually failed to provide even basic answers to the questions about the asylum seekers’ whereabouts and their safety.

“It’s taken a High Court challenge for the Government to even confirm the boat exists.

“There still remain many unanswered questions about the missing asylum seekers’ whereabouts.

“Amnesty International continues to have deep concerns about the shroud of secrecy imposed by the Government all under the guise of border security.”

Sri Lankans screened out at sea

“Earlier this week, in an unprecedented move, the Australian government confirmed it had subjected 41 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to what it calls an ‘enhanced screening process’ via video link.

“This denied asylum seekers a fair and adequate chance for their refugee claims to be processed.

“Asking asylum seekers only four questions each before handing them back to Sri Lankan authorities runs an extremely high risk of returning genuine refugees to torture, persecution or death,” said McGregor.

“If the Australian government wants to address the loss of asylum seekers’ lives, it should not be returning them to a country where their lives may be in grave danger.

“Australia stands alone in failing to recognise the ongoing human rights violations taking place in Sri Lanka,” Graeme McGregor added.

All asylum seekers arriving by boat should be processed in Australia under a prompt, rigorous and fair Refugee Status Determination system. Amnesty International calls on the Government to immediately cease any policy to turn back asylum seeker boats.

Sri Lanka’s ongoing human rights abuses

Human rights organisations including Amnesty International and the Human Rights Law Centre have long documented the human rights abuses widely committed by the Sri Lankan authorities against those that publicly oppose it.

Despite the end of the 2009 conflict, the Sri Lankan Government has systematically and violently cracked down on its critics.

Sri Lankan asylum seekers have faced torture upon return to Sri Lanka from countries such as the UK. Torture has been reported in rehabilitation camps, by police and military personnel in the context of counter insurgency against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and also in the context of civil policing. All ethnic groups in Sri Lanka continue to face risks of torture in police custody, including sexual violence, where it is pervasive. In several known cases, Tamils who have been returned to Sri Lanka have faced arbitrary arrest and detention.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

South Sudan: UN Agencies Reach More Than Half A Million

South Sudan: UN Agencies Reach More than Half a Million People with Life-Saving Aid More>>

Israeli Plans To Expand Its Illegal Settlement Enterprises

PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, strongly denounced Israeli plans to expand its illegal settlement enterprise by approving the construction of 2,561 units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos. More>>

ALSO:

Ecuador: Villagers Plan To Seize Chevron's $106M Arbitral Award

QUITO, ECUADOR, Sep. 30 /CSRwire/ - In what could be a huge boost to their campaign to force Chevron to comply with a $9.5 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador, rainforest villagers plan to enforce a court order directing them to take possession ... More>>

World Grossly Ill-Prepared To Deal Ebola Outbreak

Leaders from Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two countries, along with Guinea at the frontlines of the battle against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa, urged the General Assembly today ensure the United Nations mounted a stronger, better coordinated response “to end this grave threat to our collective survival.”More>>

ALSO:

  • Save The Children - Save the Children Builds Its First Ebola Treatment Centre


  • Israel’s Netanyahu Warns Against ‘Militant Islam’

    29 September 2014 – From the podium of the General Assembly today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world of the grave threat he said it faced from militant Islam’s desire to dominate the planet, be they Sunni extremists or ... More>>

    Deputy PM of Syria Victims Of ISIL Brutality 'Waiting On Us To Act'

    As the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant began carrying their slaughter in the Middle East, “they might have surprised many of the countries present here, but not…us,” the Deputy Prime Minister of Syria told the United Nations General Assembly, underscoring today that the time has come for the world to stand united and tackle the threat head-on.More>>

    Not A Single Child Untouched By Recent Gaza Conflict

    There is not a single child who has not been adversely affected by the recent conflict in Gaza, where children suffer from bedwetting, difficulties in sleeping, nightmares, a loss of appetite, and display more aggressive behaviour at school, an independent United Nations human rights expert said todayMore>>


    Ebola: UN Readies To Start Work As Death Toll Surpasses 3,000

    Ebola response: medical supplies, including protective equipment and essential medicine, are loaded onto trucks at the Lungi International Airport in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/Sulaiman Stephens More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news