Amnesty releases statement on Australia refugees

Let the pressure mount:

Human rights groups say the Australian Government cannot continue to ignore a group of asylum seekers from the Oceanic Viking stand-off who remain in detention limbo.

The Australian Customs boat picked up 78 Tamil asylum seekers last year who then refused to disembark the ship in Indonesia for a month until the Government told them they would be resettled within 12 weeks.

Radio National’s 360 program has found 25 still remain in detention despite being declared refugees.

Dr Graham Thom from Amnesty International says the Government cannot keep ignoring them.

“Australia does need to go back and have a look at these individuals,” he said.

“Given that they did have responsibility for them when they were on board the Oceanic Viking, Australian authorities should be looking at them in terms of their protection needs; this should not be distorting resettlement programs.”

Dr Thom says the deal to get the asylum seekers off the boat should never have been struck in the first place.

“These people should have been brought to the Australian mainland and processed here, and if they were found to be refugees in need of protection we should have been looking after them already,” he said.

“There was no reason that any deal or any special treatment should have been given in the first place.”

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