Human rights and asylum seeker advocates are condemning a decision to employ a former Sri Lankan military officer as the acting operations manager of the Manus Island detention centre.
“It’s completely inappropriate for anyone with links to the Sri Lankan military to be in charge of the welfare and well-being of vulnerable asylum seekers, including Tamils….There’s a high likelihood that the Tamils being held there are fleeing persecution at the hands of the Sri Lankan military. This isn’t about the activities of this one man. It’s about [the] way that Australia takes care of the asylum seekers who are in its custody. The placing of an ex-military commander from a source country for refugees like Sri Lanka highlights Australia’s complete insensitivity to the very real risks and suffering that those asylum seekers are fleeing.”
In the last couple of years Sri Lankan people arrived in Australia by boat in record numbers. While this has been front-page news in Australia, much less is known about those who never made it: the 4 500 people whom the Sri Lankan authorities claim to have caught en route. This article is insightful of the plight of migrants whose boats are intercepted on their way to Australia:
“(Sydney) – Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott should retract his November 15, 2013 remarks condoning the use of torture in Sri Lanka, Human Rights Watch, the Human Rights Law Centre, Amnesty International Australia, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, and the Castan Centre for Human Rights said today in a letter to the prime minister.”
A former Immigration Department official has condemned Australia’s process of so-called “enhanced screening” of asylum seekers as dangerous and says the department felt pressured by the Prime Minister’s office.