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Tuesday, July 17 , 2012 - 06.12 GMT
Over 1,300 SL asylum seekers attempted to enter Australia


Australian authorities say that over 1,300 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka have attempted to enter Australia illegally during the first six months of the year.

Immigration officer at the Department of Immigration, Daniel Sanders told local media that there had been 1,340 asylum seekers who had tried to illegally enter into Australia during the first six months in 2012.

He has noted that it is almost five times the total amount of asylum seekers that arrived from Sri Lanka in 2011.

He has added that almost 60 percent of the boat people who had interviews by the Australian authorities had confirmed that they had commenced their voyage from Sri Lanka while the rest have claimed to be from refugee camps in India.

According to Sanders, the majority of the asylum seekers are Tamils, but there are also Sinhalese and some Muslims amongst them as well.

The Australian authorities are still studying the applications handed by the boat people seeking asylum.

Sri Lanka Navy in the last three days arrested 172 people attempting to illegally migrate to Australia while the police said that it had prevented over 700 people illegally migrating to Australia this year.

According to the police the smugglers have charged each immigrant 900,000 rupees for the trip.

The group of asylum seekers has reportedly arrived and stayed at a hotel in Munneswaram waiting for departure. They have been travelling in 3 three-wheelers when they were arrested.

The suspects are to be produced in the Chilaw District Court.

Meanwhile, Two Sri Lankan boys in detention on Christmas Island told The Daily Telegraph details of their dangerous voyage to Australia.

“It was very bad, for five days we had no food, no water, it was very, very scary,” one boy said.

“We were vomiting blood. There were three small boys and every day we were vomiting blood.”

The UNHCR in a report released in 2010 said, given the cessation of hostilities, Sri Lankans originating from the north of the country are no longer in need of international protection under broader refugee criteria or complementary forms of protection solely on the basis of risk of indiscriminate harm.

The UN Refugee Agency releasing its report on 5 July, 2010, titled 'Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from Sri Lanka', further said that human rights and security situation in Sri Lanka has improved.

'In light of the improved human rights and security situation in Sri Lanka, there is no longer a need for group-based protection mechanisms or for a presumption of eligibility for Sri Lankans of Tamil ethnicity originating from the north of the country', UNHCR report stated.






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Last modified: July 17, 2012.

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