Immigration Minister Scott Morrison rejects retired admiral Chris Barrie’s claims the government’s border policies breach human rights obligations.

The immigration minister has dismissed a former defence chief’s views that Australia’s asylum seeker policy breaches human rights standards.

Retired admiral Chris Barrie, who was chief of the defence force during the 2001 Tampa and children overboard scandals, accused Scott Morrison of “double handling” in returning asylum seekers to Syria and Iraq while warning of the dangers inherent in those war zones.

Mr Barrie also said the government was violating its human rights obligations, including a fundamental principle by which states are barred from returning asylum seekers to countries where they face the risk of persecution.

Mr Morrison said he respected Mr Barrie’s long-held views but didn’t agree with them.

“He has been highly critical of the coalition’s policies on border protection and our border protection policies have proved to be working,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.

“He is a very great Australian and I thank him for the service he gave to our country, but on the issue of border protection policies, then admiral Barrie and I are in disagreement.”

Mr Barrie made his comments on Thursday at the launch of international law professor Jane McAdam’s book, Refugees: Why Seeking Asylum is Legal and Australia’s Policies Are Not.