Migrants being denied by Australia says Amnesty
Baltimore News Net, April 10, 2010
Amnesty International has condemned Australia's government for suspending the processing of new asylum claims by Afghan and Sri Lankan nationals.
The rights group has said the denial of entry processing is fundamentally inconsistent with Australia's international obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.
Amnesty International has also expressed grave concerns that the move will result in the arbitrary detention of people who have genuine protection claims.
The decision by the Australian government to suspend processing the claims of Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum seekers pre-empts the UN's official review of the security situation on the ground in those countries.
The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said security conditions in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have improved to such an extent as to justify the blanket suspension.
Amnesty International said it believes the possibility now exists that as a result of the Australian decision, other governments within the region will also begin to cease the processing of Afghan and Sri Lankan nationals.
The Australian Government has a rigorous process of assessing asylum claims for individuals who are found to be at risk of torture, persecution or death, but has been trying to stop illegal boat smuggling.
Many people rescued from boats, who are not found to have genuine claims, are returned to their country of origin.