( July 10, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC says the Federal Government's decision to hold 153 asylum seekers on a Customs boat on the high seas could amount to piracy.

After weeks of silence, the Government on Tues
day confirmed to the High Court the group, which includes children as young as two, was in custody on the boat.

"It looks for all the world like piracy," Mr Burnside said.

"If they went onto the Australian vessel because they had asked for help and they were offered help, then they seem to have been taken under false pretences because the Government not only publicly denied their existence it also seemed distinctly uninclined to offer them any help."

The asylum seekers say they are Sri Lankan but left from India about a month ago.

Sri Lanka has indicated it will not take them back and Mr Burnside thinks India would be unlikely to.

"Because India of course is not a signatory to the refugees convention," he said.




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