Australia's position on Sri Lanka questioned

A Sri Lankan activist at a candlelight vigil in Colombo on August 30, 2013, held to mark the International Day of the Disappeared. (Getty)

Human rights lawyers are questioning the Australian government's approach to Sri Lanka's human rights record, and its policy on potential Sri Lankan asylum-seekers.

Victoria's Human Rights Law Centre has joined growing international criticism of Sri Lanka's human rights record and says asylum seekers shouldn't be returned to the island nation as a matter of routine.

Critics of the Sri Lankan government have included United Nations rights chief Navi Pillay, who has warned Sri Lanka it could face an international investigation if it doesn't rein in rights abuses and look into suspected war crimes.

While Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he'll boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be hosted by Sri Lanka in November in protest at its rights record.

But those views contrast starkly with the Australian government's approach.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he'll attend CHOGM, while Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has said Sri Lankan asylum-seekers arriving in Australia can expect to be returned home immediately.

Emily Howie, from the Human Rights Law Centre, has told Murray Silby, some Sri Lankans have genuine reasons for leaving the country and seeking protection elsewhere.

For the full interview, click on the audio tab above.

Source: World News Australia