Apr 262013

Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Australia returns 25 more Sri Lankan boat people homeSat, Apr 27, 2013, 01:27 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 26, Colombo: Australia has deported another group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers today from Christmas Island, a territory of Australia where illegal immigrants to the country are detained.

A group of 25 Sri Lankan irregular maritime arrivals has been flown home from Christmas Island to Colombo involuntarily, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O’Connor announced Friday.

All were recent arrivals but were not from the group of 66 which arrived at Geraldton earlier this month, of whom 38 have already been returned to Sri Lanka.

The group has been advised of their status and that they were subject to removal from Australia. None of the 25 people has raised issues that engaged Australia’s international obligations.

“Without a valid visa they had no legal right to remain in Australia,” the Minister said in a statement.

With the latest send-off, since August 13, 2012, Australia has returned 820 Sri Lankans home involuntarily and a total of 1,029 both voluntarily and involuntarily.

“Returning this group to Sri Lanka sends the powerful message that people who pay smugglers are throwing their money away and risking their lives in the process,” Mr. O’Connor said.

He said Australia is committed to breaking the evil people smuggling trade, deterring people from taking dangerous journeys by boat and saving lives at sea.

“When people arrive in Australia without authorization, any claims they make for their reasons to travel to Australia are assessed by the Department of Immigration. If these claims are not covered by the refugee convention, they will be returned to their homeland wherever possible,” he said.

“There is no visa on arrival, there is no speedy outcome, and there is no special treatment,” he said adding that Australia will continue to transfer people to offshore detention centers in Nauru and Manus Island.

According to the Australian Minister, people returned involuntarily do not have access to reintegration assistance.

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