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Australia returns 100 SL asylum-seekers

21 November 2012 05:05 am - 8     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Australia on Wednesday sent 100 Sri Lankan men deemed not to be refugees back to their homeland, bringing to 426 the number involuntarily returned to Colombo in the past three months.

The latest planeload is the ninth and largest this month as Canberra deals with an influx of more than 15,500 asylum-seekers who have arrived on boats since the beginning of this year.

"Our humanitarian programme is for people who are at risk of persecution, not for people seeking to undertake economic migration," Immigration Minister Chris Bowen told reporters.

"We will continue these returns for as long as it takes."

A further 99 Sri Lankans have returned home voluntarily rather than face the prospect of spending years on a remote Pacific island waiting for their refugee claims to be processed.

Australia has pledged to crack down on asylum-seekers arriving by boat after a spate of drownings en route and is sending boatpeople to the island of Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea as a deterrent.

"We will continue to return people to Sri Lanka, we will continue to transfer people to Nauru, and now to Manus Island as well," Bowen said.

More than 7,800 boatpeople have arrived in Australia since the policy was announced in August, and officials have noted a rise in Sri Lankans making the treacherous journey.

"The message here is very clear: people who pay smugglers are risking their lives and throwing their money away," Bowen said.

"They are being told lies. There is no visa on arrival, there is no speedy outcome, and there is no special treatment."

Sri Lankan authorities have arrested more than 1,200 people trying to leave the island illegally this year.

Many who depart Sri Lanka for Australia pay up to US$3,000 for a place on fishing boats run by people-smugglers.

Australia also completed the first involuntary return of a man to Afghanistan on Tuesday under Canberra's return agreement with Kabul. (AFP)
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  Comments - 8

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  • Lanka Lion - Sydney Wednesday, 21 November 2012 12:09 PM

    The Australian Government is spending A$3,300 on each asylum seeker to return home to Sri Lanka as well for the air ticket. In addition they also provide them with TV's, mobile phones, cigarettes entertainment etc during their stay in the detention centres.In fact the Australian Taxpayer is spending over one million each day to run the detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea as well as the other detention centres in mainland Australia.

    Maina Wednesday, 21 November 2012 12:17 PM

    Correct.
    Most of these people migrating via this hazardous journey are physically able youth with lots of talent. Some might disagree with me, but as I see it, they could have invested that USD 3,000 here in SL and started a business. It will not be a bed of roses in the beginning, but worth a try rather than risking your life & money into smuggler's hands.
    If you go legally, that's another story - go and earn as much as you can! Or else, be wise and spend your money & talent in something you are sure of!!
    How many you guys get stuck in local garages due to shortage of mechanics? Do you know most of these garage mechanics & owners earn more money than us commenting here? There are opportunities men, go and explore your in your own country first.

    ANTON Wednesday, 21 November 2012 01:22 PM

    Too much of incidents of asylum. We will have to set up a new ministry for this "MINISTRY OF ASYLUM SEEKERS"

    Gamarala Wednesday, 21 November 2012 07:09 AM

    US$3,000 =RS.396000.

    Nihal Amarasekera Wednesday, 21 November 2012 07:40 AM

    Actually there are no more deserving refugees; only greener Pasteur seekers.

    chathu Thursday, 22 November 2012 04:05 AM

    Australian Government. They chartered an aeroplane for this.

    Calistus Jayatilleke Wednesday, 21 November 2012 04:09 PM

    The tide is definitely turning with the new measures introduced by the Australian government. Even then some of these false asylum seekers must be thinking they are in a win-win situation because they get a free ride in a plane back to Sri Lanka, forgetting the large amounts they have paid to the smugglers.

    Concerned Wednesday, 21 November 2012 10:22 AM

    Who is funding the air tickets and the process? SL or Ausi?


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