A further 15 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have been returned to Colombo after failing to meet Australia’s international obligations, a spokesman for the Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship said.
The group of irregular maritime arrivals departed Christmas Island earlier on Thursday. Their return takes the number of Sri Lankans sent home to 1285 – 1072 of them involuntarily since August last year.
“Returning the group to Sri Lanka sends a powerful message,” the spokesman said.
“This is making it crystal clear that those who pay smugglers are throwing their money away and risking their lives in the process.
“When people arrive in Australia without authorisation, any claims they make for their reasons to travel to Australia are assessed by the department.
If these claims are not covered by Australia’s international obligations, they will be returned to their homeland wherever possible.
“We will continue to transfer people to Nauru and Manus Island.”
People returned involuntarily do not have access to reintegration assistance.