26 Feb 2007

Australian opposition concerned that latest group of asylum seekers may get sent back to Indonesia

11:26 am on 26 February 2007

The Australian Green party says a reported deal between Canberra and Jakarta to return 85 asylum seekers to Indonesia without processing their claims for asylum shows the Howard government is completely irresponsible.

Senator Bob Brown said to send asylum seekers back without assessing their refugee status was a breach of Australia's international responsibilities to the Geneva Convention.

He said the deal trampled on the human rights of the 85 Sri Lankan asylum seekers.

The group that was intercepted by the HMAS Success last week has been taken to Christmas Island, which while Australian territory is outside its immigration zone.

A media statement from the office of the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said the Australian Government was exploring a range of options for the handling of this group.

It said preliminary discussions had commenced with both Indonesia and Nauru.