South Asia

Australia denies abuse of asylum-seekers

Australia has denied Sri Lankan migrants’ allegations that they were abused and treated badly by its authorities in a recent mid-sea operation that has now spiralled into an issue of refugees’ safety.

Australian Minister Scott Morrison, who was in Colombo, termed the claims by some of the 41 returned asylum-seekers “offensive.”

“I find those allegations offensive and reject them absolutely,” news agency AFP quoted him as saying, following an event where he, along with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, commissioned two boats donated by Australia to combat people-smuggling.

A day after Australian authorities intercepted a boatload of 41 Sri Lankans and sent them back to Sri Lanka on Sunday, a magistrate court in Galle released 27 of them on bail on Tuesday.

According to AFP reports, some of the migrants, who included four women and nine children, on Tuesday claimed that they were locked up, given little food and treated “worse than dogs” by Australian authorities mid-sea after their boat was seized.

Mr. Morrison dismissed concerns voiced by rights groups over the safety of the migrants who returned to Sri Lanka.

Reports said some of the migrants claimed they were racially abused, denied medication and given out of date food by customs officers.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 11:20:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/australia-denies-abuse-of-asylumseekers/article6195118.ece

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