Nine Afghans, who were returned home by the Howard Government with promises and compensation, have come back and were granted protection by the Rudd Government, The Australian reports.
The controversial "reintegration package" paid asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island $2,000 each, or $10,000 per family, airfares and the promise of counselling and job training to abandon their claim for protection. They were to relinquish any claims for asylum, the report says.
It adds that 11 people who took the package that cost "thousands in taxpayer funds" have come back. Nine have been granted protection visas while two are awaiting a decision.
Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glendenning, who authored a report on the voluntary returnees then, said the Howard government had misled them.
"At the time, they were all told that it was safe to go back, that the coalition forces had overthrown the Taliban in Afghanistan," he said. "But history has proven that to be a lie. It was not safe then and it is even less safe now."
Mr Glendenning said at least nine Afghans who took the package, most from the country's Hazara minority, were later killed. He added there were possibly hundreds more Afghans who took the 2002 package now wanting to return to Australia to claim asylum.
"All of these people should not have been sent back."
Refugees Howard rejected are back (The Australian)