Thursday, October 29, 2015

Human Rights group alleges Australia paid people smugglers

Almost six months after the Australian government was accused of paying the crew of an asylum seeker boat to return its passengers to Indonesia, a London-based human rights group has taken out advertisements in Australian newspapers to underline the claims.

Full-page ads in papers in the country's largest cities of Sydney and Melbourne highlight accusations in an Amnesty International report that border protection officials illegally paid people smugglers and endangered lives in their efforts to prevent the boats from reaching Australia.

“Australia has, for months, denied that it paid for people smuggling, but our report provides detailed evidence pointing to a very different set of events,” Anna Shea, Refugee Researcher at Amnesty International, says.

“All of the available evidence points to Australian officials having committed a transnational crime by, in effect, directing a people-smuggling operation, paying a boat crew and then instructing them on exactly what to do and where to land in Indonesia... When it comes to its treatment of those seeking asylum, Australia is becoming a lawless state.”

The Australian government has slammed Amnesty's comments, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoting a spokesman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton as describing them as "a slur on the men and women of the Australian Border Force (ABF) and Australian Defence Force (ADF)".

The report - titled By hook or by crook - claims that in May 2015 Australian officials working as part of Operation Sovereign Borders paid six crew who had been taking 65 people seeking asylum to New Zealand $32,000 and told them to take the passengers to Indonesia instead....

 www.aa.com.tr
29/10/15

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