(Mirror Daily, United States) – According to a report by Amnesty global, Australia’s reaction to asylum seekers has breached worldwide law. The government has reportedly paid smugglers to turn around boats of asylum seekers, which probably meant torture and eventually death of the passengers.
The Australian officials who were found to pay and instruct the boat crews to land the immigrants on Rote Island back in May 2015 are also suspected to be accessories to the transnational crime of people-smuggling.
When the news first surfaced in June, Tony Abbott, former prime minister of Australia, declined to comment on the allegations. His only response was that the government had done and would continue to do whatever was needed in order to “keep this evil trade stopped.”
People-smuggling is a crime rarely associated with governments, but Abbott is proof that Australian officials were not only involved, but also directed the operations themselves. He added that the government “used a whole range of measures to stop the boats, because that’s what the Australian people elected us to do.”
The case is the subject of a Senate inquiry, scheduled to take place in January 2016. The Amnesty group has slammed open Australia’s secretive Operation Sovereign Borders, describing it as a “lawless venture” that mustn’t be allowed to function any longer.
According to the Amnesty report, the officials went as far as providing the smugglers with maps showing where to deport their passengers in Indonesia. A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton declined any comments on the matter until the Amnesty report will be examined by the office.
Upon intercepting a group of asylum seekers and people smugglers, the officials moved them into holding on an Australian vessel for several days, before sending them back out on another boat with an Indonesian island as destination. In spite of the evidence, the spokesperson claims that “Operation Sovereign Borders is conducted consistent with Australia’s obligations under worldwide law.”
In his address at the Wednesday meeting with European leaders in London, Abbott said “some force” was needed in order to maintain border protection policies, but that seems like an understatement. Even though it’s not clear if the May boat was intercepted in worldwide or Australian waters, what’s sure is that the crew was paid to not land on the continent.
There was a striking consistency in the testimony of the crew and the refugees regarding the amount of money the smugglers were paid – no less than $USD 32,000 – in spite of being held in different locations, with no means of communicating with one another.
Image Source: Indian Express