Over 40 per-cent of those being held due to irregular maritime arrivals in Australia were Sri Lankans, a delegation of Senior Officials from Australia said yesterday.
“We have about 8000 persons who are being held in immigration detention of various forms and a significant proportion of them are from Sri Lanka”, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the leader of the delegation, Peter Vardos said.
“Over 40 per-cent of the total number, across all nationalities, who are irregular maritime arrivals, are from Sri Lanka,” Commander of the Border Protection Command Rear Admiral David Johnston said. Rear Admiral Johnston commended the work done by the Sri Lanka Navy to stop these illegal practices and stated that over 3000 persons being apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy meant that there were 3000 persons that Australia did not have to deal with and whose lives were not being risked. “I understand the difficulty being faced by the Sri Lanka Navy, being an island nation there is a large coastline and there are a number of vessels that are leaving and entering Sri Lankan waters lawfully. Overall we are pleased with the work of the Sri Lanka Navy,” he said. (Dianne Silva and Ajith Siriwardane)
Pix by Kithsiri de Mel