Australia slams Amnesty boatpeople claims as ‘disgraceful slur’

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SYDNEY: Australia on Thursday lashed out at damning claims from Amnesty International that it paid off people-smugglers and abused asylum-seekers in a “lawless” and secretive operation, calling it a disgraceful slur that will change nothing. The rights group, in a new report “By Hook or By Crook,” cited two instances when Australian officials allegedly paid the crews of boats carrying migrants to leave the country’s waters as evidence of “transnational crime.” Under the conservative government’s Operation Sovereign Borders policy, asylum-seekers attempting to enter Australia by boat are turned back or sent to detention camps on Nauru or Papua New Guinea. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton rejected the report — which follows previous accusations Australian authorities had paid off people-smugglers — as a “slur” and said Australia would not be “bullied” into changing its policies.

AFP

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