25 Feb 2014

Appointment of former Sri Lankan military commander at Manus criticised

2:22 pm on 25 February 2014

A human rights advocate says it was inappropriate to choose a former Sri Lankan military commander to run Australia's asylum seeker detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

The Sri Lankan official, Dinesh Perera, has been working for the security firm G4S as the acting manager of operations at the camp on Manus Island.

The Director of Advocacy and Research at the Australian Human Rights Law Centre, Emily Howie, says there are about 30 ethnic Tamil asylum seekers in the camp who may be fleeing persecution by the Sri Lankan military.

"It's absolutely inappropriate for a person whose background is in the military of a country asylum seekers are fleeing to have the care and custody of the asylum seekers in the Manus Island facility."

Emily Howie says while there are no specific allegations against Mr Perera, the appointment of someone with his background shows a callous disregard for the asylum seekers.