The US has agreed to take 28 Sri Lankan Tamils from the 78 refugees rescued by the Australian Customs vessel Oceanic Viking in October. The remaining Tamil refugees are to be sent to New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Norway.
Australia has agreed to take three Cuban refugees from the US as part of a deal for the US to take the 28 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, The Australian newspaper reported today.
The men were being held at the refugee detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, although the department insists they are not associated with enemy combatants also being detained at Guantanamo.
Immigration Minister Chris Evans denied the men's arrival was part of a swap to help farm out to other countries the 78 Tamil refugees rescued by the Customs vessel Oceanic Viking in October. A spokesman said US requests on refugees were considered on a case-by-case basis.