The Government has been forced to acknowledge it has been using shadowy processes to deport Tamil refugees to Sri Lanka where they face torture, imprisonment and worse, the Australian Greens said today.
“The Government must change the law to ensure that genuine refugees are not deported back to danger,” the Greens’ immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“The Government and the Opposition are locked in a desperate race to the bottom that has seen hundreds of people deported without access to independent advice, due process or certainty that the right decision has been made.
“Rather than ad hoc fixes just to avoid the High Court, the Government needs to fix the law to ensure a fair screening process for all potential refugees and establishment of a robust independent reviewer to check that the right decision has been made.
“We know many Sri Lankans are ultimately found to be refugees but it is increasingly clear that the Government is determined to slam the door shut rather than properly assess their protection claims.
“Human rights are regularly violated in Sri Lanka so returning people there must be done with the utmost caution, but hundreds of people have already been returned without any second opinion or monitoring of their safety.
“Australia has international obligations under the Refugee Convention to assess the claims of all people, not just the 56 refugees at the centre of the Government’s back-flip this week.
“The only way to ensure a fair process that’s consistent with our refugee obligations is to establish clear safety nets in Australian law to ensure that no one is deported to danger.
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