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Aussie explores options to rehabilitate SL refugees in TN

19 May 2017 03:41 pm - 8     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Australia is exploring options with the Tamil Nadu government and Sri Lanka to rehabilitate some Sri Lankan refugees in the State that will in turn reduce the number of refugees trying to enter Australia through illegal means, a top Australian Border Force official told The Hindu on Friday.

Roman Quaedvlieg APM, Commissioner of the Australian Border Force, met Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan on Thursday and discussed options including Australian assistance in rehabilitating a number of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu.

In an interview to The Hindu, Mr. Quaedvlieg said, “It is in our interest that the size of the diaspora (Sri Lankan refugees) here is reduced; this in turn indirectly reduces that probability of further (illegal) maritime ventures to Australia. So, we are very interested in working with TN Govt., NGOs like IOM and UNHCR to ensure that there is a continuous resettlement programme.”

Mr. Quaedvlieg said the government of Tamil Nadu has been extending its cooperation to Australia in helping reduce the number of refugees who are illegally making their way to Australia by sea. “There is a large diaspora of Sri Lankan Tamils who have sought refuge in Tamil Nadu; some of them have sought to enter Australia through illegal maritime means.”

According to him, there are about 100,000 refugees in India, some of whom want to go back to Sri Lanka, while some have integrated themselves with the Tamil society in the State. There are also some who were born here who wouldn’t want to go back to Sri Lanka.

“Out of that cohort, there have been some who leave these shores and travel to Australia by boats through organised people smuggling ventures,” he said.

He added that while Australia was criticised for turning back the “boat people” – refugees who arrive in boats –the country had the third-largest pro-rata number of refugees. “We are escalating our refugee programme to 18,750 refugees per year. Over and above that, we took in 12,000 extra Syrians last year,” Mr. Quaedvlieg said.

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  Comments - 8

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  • sunil Saturday, 20 May 2017 10:10 AM

    Don't worry Hiran and Danushka, very soon you will go as a workers to Tamil Nadu. Sri Lanka will be soon 26th state of India. It is a matter of time before Sri Lankans get integrated with India considering India's rising influence in Sri Lanka

    Dee Friday, 19 May 2017 04:01 PM

    Won't do. Try new Zealand, UK, Canada, us, etc. They will want to be there. Even if you pay them an allowance ce they won't go to TN.

    rosebud Friday, 19 May 2017 04:10 PM

    Bless you. via DM Android App

    Hiran Shanaka Friday, 19 May 2017 05:00 PM

    Sir, please rehabilitate these fellows in TN and keep them there. They fit in TN better than SL. Thanks!

    seqi Sunday, 21 May 2017 09:25 PM

    If they are citizens they have right of return via DM Android App

    danushka Friday, 19 May 2017 05:40 PM

    Send them wherever you want but don't send them to sri lanka. They are not welcome here

    Mohan Saturday, 20 May 2017 05:50 PM

    You fit better in Orissa than in SL.

    Mohan Saturday, 20 May 2017 05:51 PM

    Did they ask you to welcome them? They are citizens of this country and have every right to return if they like.


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