Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is heading to Sri Lanka as the furore continues over government silence on the fate of hundreds of asylum seekers.
The federal government will not confirm reports 203 Tamils have been handed over to Sri Lankan authorities after they were intercepted trying to reach Australia by boat.
Human rights groups have warned the Tamils could face torture, rape and long-term detention if they are returned to Sri Lanka.
Mr Morrison will attend a ceremony this week to mark the handing over of two former Customs bay class patrol boats that Australia has given the Sri Lankan government.
He will arrive on Wednesday and meet the country’s foreign minister and defence officials.
The United Nations refugee agency has been critical of potential shortcuts in processing the asylum seeker claims, which have reportedly happened at sea.
One boat originated in India with 153 Tamil asylum seekers, including about 30 children, and a second, carrying 50 people, may have sailed from Indonesia.