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UN decries reports Australia handing back Sri Lanka Tamil asylum seekers

Published on Jul 4, 2014 10:32 AM
 

SYDNEY/COLOMBO (REUTERS) - The United Nations has expressed "profound concern" about Australia's handling of asylum seekers amid reports that scores of Sri Lankans will be handed over to their country's navy after only a brief assessment by Australian authorities.

Two boats carrying more than 200 Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka were intercepted by Australian border security forces in the Indian Ocean in recent days and either have been or will be transferred to the Sri Lankan navy, Australian media said.

An Australian source with knowledge of the operation said the intention was to carry out the transfer on Friday, but the situation was fluid.

The prospect of a risky mid-ocean transfer of Tamil asylum seekers and their return to Sri Lanka has sparked criticism of Australia's tough immigration policy.

 
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