Australian Tamils welcome court order halting return of asylum seekers

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The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC), a national organisation representing Australian Tamils, has welcomed a high court interim injunction which will prevent Australian authorities from handing 153 Tamil asylum seekers over to the Sri Lankan navy.

 

“This high court decision is representative of the true Aussie spirit – of ensuring, not denying, a fair go to everyone,” said  Bala Vigneswaran of the ATC.

“These individuals, apparently intercepted in mid-sea as they fled persecution to seek asylum, have a right to a just hearing of their case as per international laws and the UN Refugee Convention. Australia is signatory to this convention, and returning these men, women and children to the very people they are escaping from, without a fair process, is not only in breach of Australia’s international obligations but also morally abhorrent,” he added.

53 Australian legal scholars have also joined in condemning Australia’s rapid and inadequate screening interviews at sea and returning of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka.

Credible international agencies and eminent persons have documented abduction, arbitrary detention, torture, rape and sexual violence against persons returned to Sri Lanka, who had sought humanitarian protection in other countries.

Earlier this year, the UN Human Rights Council approved an international war crimes inquiry into alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka.

The ATC calls on the Australian government to put human rights above political gain and process claims for protection in a robust and fair process.

 

 

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