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Australia silent on rights abuses in exchange for Sri Lanka cooperation - Ranil

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Australia stayed silent on human rights abuses on the island in exchange for cooperation from the Sri Lankan government in stopping Tamil asylum seekers fleeing in boats.

Speaking to The Australian, the prime minister said people connected to the previous government under Mahinda Rajapaksa were involved in the trafficking operations.

“It was being done by people with Rajapaksa connections, but once this deal was done between Australia and the Rajapaksa government, where you looked the other way (on human rights abuses), then secretary of defence got the navy to patrol,” he told The Australian. “You could not have got anyone out of this country without someone in the security system looking the other way, the police or the navy.”

Mr Wickremesinghe's new government is led by President Maithripala Sirisena, a close aide of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa until as recently as November last year.

No change in Sri Lankan policy says minister, as asylum seekers face court (20 February 2015)

'Drivers of terror' still send Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka, says TRC(19 Feb 2015)

Tamil refugees arrested off Sri Lanka coast (19 Feb 2015)

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