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Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - 08.41 GMT

Australia sent home another group of Sri Lankans


The Australian government has sent another group of people who arrived by boat back to Sri Lanka in a tough move designed to deter further arrivals.

The latest group, comprising 30 were returned involuntarily on a charter flight to Colombo from Christmas Island today.

The men had arrived on a number of boats in recent days.

'Without a valid visa they had no legal right to remain in Australia and were removed at the earliest opportunity,' Immigration Minister of Australia Chris Bowen said.

The returnees received no reintegration assistance, Minister added.

Since August 13, when the government's offshore processing regime started, 156 Sri Lankans have returned to Sri Lanka either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Last week, the government returned 27 Sri Lankans on two flights. The previous Saturday, it sent back 14 Sri Lankans who arrived on a fishing trawler that had allegedly been hijacked in Sri Lankan waters.

Mr Bowen has defended its actions by saying the government was sending a message that it would not accept ''economic refugees''.

''We will not have people that do not have genuine claims to make going through our system,'' he said last week.





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Last modified: November 07, 2012.

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