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Tamil Asylum Seekers Handed Over to Sri Lankan Navy, According to Reports

Tamil Asylum Seekers Handed Over to Sri Lankan Navy, According to Reports

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Published by: Thavam on Jul 01, 2014
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Scott Morrison will not confirm claims a boat of asylum seekers is in trouble off the coast of Christmas Island. hoto! "ndrew Meares
July 1, 2014
The "ustralian government is refusing to comment on reports circulating on Christmas Island that #$% Tamil asylum seekers have been handed over to the Sri Lankan navy.
The asylum seekers, who have not communicated with civilians since Saturday morning, were on a boat allegedly intercepted by the Australian navy near Christmas Island, president of the Shire of Christmas Island Gordon Thomson said. They were then handed over to Sri anka!s military. "efugee advocates lost contact with the boat on Saturday morning, sparking fears the phone on  board had been confiscated.A spokesman for Immigration #inister Scott #orrison said the government!s policy was that it did not confirm nor otherwise comment on reports of on$water activities in relation to %peration Sovereign &orders.&ut human rights lawyers have been desperately trying to contact the asylum seekers, saying it is profoundly concerning that the plight of these people remains in a shroud of secrecy.
'airfa( #edia understands a group of lawyers have obtained four names and the dates of birth of passengers believed to be on the vessel, which had spent two weeks travelling from India.The e(istence of a second vessel carrying )* asylum seekers has not been confirmed, but 'airfa( #edia understands it too may have departed from somewhere other than Indonesia.+uman rights lawyer avid #anne said Australians had the right to know whether the Abbott government was upholding its international obligations in providing protection to people needing protection.-These people appear to be unable to access basic information about their rights and we don!t know where they are,!! #r #anne, the e(ecutive director of the "efugee and Immigration egal Centre, said.-They can!t get in contact with anyone and critical uestions about their fate continue to be raised and remain unanswered.!!irector of the +uman "ights egal centre aniel /ebb agreed, saying that a government confident its actions were lawful and decent shouldn!t go to such e(traordinary lengths to  prevent scrutiny.-There are serious uestions about whether our government is complying with domestic and international laws. The answers to those uestions depend on the facts but our government won!t give us any,!! #r /ebb said.%n Tuesday, #r #orrison would not take uestions from reporters in Canberra after he gave a  pep talk to Customs officers, congratulating them on the -difficult!! 0ob they perform.-/e know the work we ask you to do is difficult, the decisions we ask you to take in the conte(t of the policies can be hard but the border protection command has never flinched,!! he told Customs officers.1rime #inister Tony Abbott also refused to answer uestions about the possible return of the Tamil asylum seekers to Sri anka, only repeating that the government was -stopping the  boats!!.-I!m not going to comment on the operational details of what happens on the water but obviously we have been successful up till now,!! he told A&C radio.Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah +anson$2oung said the government should be doing everything to offer protection to these people.-I am e(tremely concerned about the children who were on this boat, the minister must confirm what is happening to these children,- she said.
-/e shouldn!t be deporting these people, we should be assessing their claims here in Australia.-
Do you know more? Email swhyte@fairfaxmedia.om.au
&efugee groups sound alarm over fate of Tamil asylum seekers on board a boat heading to  "ustralia, amid information blackout
Christmas Island, possible intended destination of the asylum seekers.
Tuesday 3 4uly 5*36 Australia would 7flagrantly8 violate the refugee convention if 3)9 Tamil asylum seekers on  board a boat headed to Australia were sent to Sri anka without being allowed to lodge a claim for protection, the "efugee Council of Australia has warned.The Christmas Island shire president, Gordon Thomson, told Guardian Australia on Tuesday there were unconfirmed reports on the island that those on board the boat had been handed over to the Sri ankan navy.Thomson said it was clear that those on board had not yet been brought ashore and there was no sign of the boat.The Sri ankan high commissioner in Canberra, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, told Guardian Australia on Tuesday evening he had not been informed by the Australian government of the  boat:s e(istence and he was in no position to comment without knowing the facts, but was unaware of any reports of the Sri ankan navy being engaged.

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