No turnbacks: Let the Vietnamese asylum seekers land

| July 21, 2015 | Reply

The Refugee Action Coalition has called on the Coalition government to bring the Vietnamese asylum seekers off Dampier to shore and allow them to make protection applications.

Boat 210715“We know from past actions, the government will likely attempt to return the asylum seekers to Vietnam,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

Forty-six Vietnamese asylum seekers were intercepted and returned to Vietnam in April. There are reports that the adults were detained and questioned. Some men are reported to still be in prison, and some children are not allowed to attend school. Some of the 41 asylum seekers screened out and sent back to Sri Lanka in July 2014 have been found to be refugees after fleeing to other countries. Some of the 41 remain in jail.

“Our concern is that the government will screen out these asylum seekers and deny them the right to have their asylum claims properly considered. The secrecy that the government seeks to impose on so-called ‘operational matters’, is designed to prevent scrutiny of the abuse of asylum seekers’ human rights. Some asylum seekers have previously been held captive on customs boats for a month before finally being returned. The government has no respect for human rights,” said Ian Rintoul.

“In this kind of turnback situation, the asylum seekers are being directly handed to those they are fleeing from. It is a complete violation of their rights and international law.”

“We are also calling on the Federal Labor party to clearly state where it stands on such turnbacks,” said Rintoul.

“Labor should clearly oppose such turnbacks, but recent comments from Opposition Immigration spokesperson, Richard Marles have indicated Labor leaders intend to continue the Coalition’s turnback policy; something expected to be discussed at Labor’s national conference on the weekend. Marles owes it to Labor members and asylum seekers to say whether Labor would intercept and return asylum boats.”

For more information, contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Category: Press releases

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