According to Amnesty International, officials in Australia have allegedly paid people smugglers to turn back their boats when coming to the country.
Amnesty International also says that Australian officials have made violent threats towards immigrants seeking asylum, and the organization claims to have evidence showing that this reported behavior is true.
Allegations of such behavior originally emerged in June, and Australia has done everything in its power to deny these rumors. Australia has a zero tolerance policy regarding migrant boats approaching the country.
Based on this policy, no migrants or asylum seekers are permitted to reach Australia by boat. When officials from the country locate a boat, they intercept the vessel at sea, either telling them to turn back or in some cases, take the offenders to detention centers in nearby Pacific countries.
Amnesty International now wants an investigation to take place based on the alleged controversial behavior by the Australians.
The first incident reportedly took place earlier this year on May 17th, as 65 migrants and six crew members were intercepted by Australian officials, who told them to turn around and go back to Indonesia.
Reports from Amnesty International claim that officials gave the crew members $32,000 to turn the boat around. The human rights organization says that it confirmed this by interviewing all 65 migrants who were aboard the vessel.
A second incident allegedly took place on July 25th, when asylum seekers were stopped by Australian officials. The migrants were held captive on an Australian boat for several days before they were put onto another boat and sent to Indonesia.
Australian agencies have defended their practices in response to the reports from Amnesty International.
The Australian Ministry for Immigration and Border Protection said in a statement, “People on intercepted vessels are held lawfully in secure, safe, humane, and appropriate conditions by the personnel of the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Australian Defense Force (ADF). To suggest otherwise, as Amnesty has done, is to cast a slur on the men and women of the ABF and ADF.”
The policy enforced by Australia is known as the “Stop The Boats” policy.