28 Oct 2008

Group claims rejected asylum-seekers were killed by Taliban

7:05 am on 28 October 2008

Australia has ordered an investigation into claims that up to 20 Afghan asylum-seekers were killed by the Taliban after they were returned home.

A television documentary due to air on the SBS channel later this month,

says they were among 400 Afghans detained on the island of Nauru and denied entry to Australia by the John Howard government.

Their fate was examined by a social research group, the Edmund Rice Centre, which says it has proof of nine deaths.

Former immigration minister, Phillip Ruddock, admits "mistakes were possible".

But he maintains the United Nations Refugee Convention does not prevent asylum seekers from being returned to dangerous places.

The policy under which the asylum seekers were returned home has since been dropped.