Australian Government playing fast and loose with the lives of Rohingya refugees

Director of the Edmund Rice Centre and President of the Refugee Council of Australia Phil Glendenning has called on the Turnbull Government to immediately rule out any forced deportations or removal of Rohingya refugees from Australia or from Australian-run detention centres.

The Guardian has today reported that Australia is promising financial payments to Rohingya refugees on Manus Island who agree to return to Myanmar.

"The situation in Myanmar is absolutely appalling and has been described by the United Nations as 'textbook ethnic cleansing'," Mr Glendenning said.

"For the Australian Government to even be contemplating deporting or removing Rohingya people back to Myanmar is not only a complete abrogation of our international obligations, but also a complete denial of basic human decency.

"The Government has a responsibility to ensure that people who have sought safety and refuge in our country are not turned back to harm and deported to unsafe places. No reasonable person could claim that Myanmar is a safe place for Rohingya people at present.  

"Make no mistake, if these people are sent back to Myanmar at this point in history, the Australian Government is playing fast and loose with their lives.

"A major refugee crisis is playing out in our own region. It's time the Government showed regional leadership, proposed durable solutions to this crisis and led by example."

Media Contact: Phil Glendenning 0419 013 758

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