No turnbacks: let the Vietnamese asylum seekers land

Refugee Action Coalition


The Refugee Action Coalition has called on the Coalition government to
bring the Vietnamese asylum seekers off Dampier to shore and allow
them to make protection applications.

“We know from past actions, the government will likely attempt to
return the asylum seekers to Vietnam,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson
for the Refugee Action Coalition.

Forty-six Vietnamese asylum seekers were intercepted and returned to
Vietnam in April. There are reports that the adults were detained and
questioned. Some men are reported to still be in prison, and some
children are not allowed to attend school.
Some of 41 asylum seekers screened out and sent back to Sri Lanka in
July 2014 have been found to be refugees after fleeing to other
countries. Some of the 41 remain in jail.

“Our concern is that the government will screen-out these asylum
seekers and deny them the right to have their asylum claims properly
considered. The secrecy that the government seeks to impose on
so-called ‘operational matter’, is designed to prevent scrutiny of the
abuse of asylum seekers’ human rights. Some asylum seekers have
previously been held captive on customs boats for a month before
finally being returned. The government has no respect for human
rights,” said Ian Rintoul.

“In this kind of turnback situation, the asylum seekers are being
directly handed to those they are fleeing from. It is a complete
violation of their rights and international law.”

“We are also calling on the Federal Labor party to clearly state where
it stands on such turnbacks,” said Rintoul.

“Labor should clearly oppose such turnbacks, but recent comments from
Opposition Immigration spokesperson, Richard Marles have indicated
Labor leaders intend to continue the Coalition’s turnback policy;
something expected to be discussed at Labor’s national conference on
the weekend. Marles owes it to Labor members and asylum seekers to say
whether Labor would intercept and return asylum boats.”

For more information, contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713