Sri Lanka Tells Australian Navy To Turn Back Illegal Vessels
By Dinouk Colombage
In a move to cut back on the growing number of illegal asylum seekers, the Sri Lankan navy has requested that its Australian counterparts send back all illegal boats.
Navy spokesperson, Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya, said that they have frequently requested that the Australia navy turn back the illegal immigrants as it would serve as a deterrent. “Whenever the boats get to Australia they are taken ashore and are not sent back. If this keeps happening they will keep encouraging the boat people to try and get across to Australia”, he explained.
He denied that the Australian navy had agreed to these terms, adding that “the Sri Lankan navy is responsible for its own waters. We can only hope that the Australian navy will turn them back.”
Warnakulasuriya added that the navy had stepped up its patrols around Sri Lanka’s maritime borders in an attempt to turn back the illegal boats. “One of the reasons the number of illegal asylum seekers has increased is the reduction in patrols. We are increasing them to combat this”, he explained.
The latest request by the Sri Lankan navy comes shortly after the first ever deportation of a Tamil from Australia since the war ended.
On Thursday Dayan Anthony was deported from Australia following an unsuccessful application for asylum in Australia.
The Australian Immigration Department have denied that the deportation of Dayan Anthony is a shift in their policy towards the boat people.
Daniel Sanders, immigration officer at the Department of Immigration, said that while Anthony’s deportation was the first such incident it did not mean that they would immediately start deporting the rest of the asylum seekers. “Anthony was deported because his application for refugee status was unsuccessful.
He went through the same process that all the other asylum seekers will go through, if their applications are successful they will be allowed to stay if not they will be deported”, he explained.
Sanders refused to comment on the reason why the UN’s last minute plea to reverse the deportation orders was not successful, saying only that “no new evidence had been given to change our decision.”
Upon arrival in Sri Lanka Anthony had been taken to the CID headquarters where he was interviewed for several hours.
Police spokesperson, S.P. Ajith Rohana, explained that the police had interviewed him to find out more details regarding his allegations of having been abducted and tortured in 2009. Rohana added that Anthony had withdrawn his complaints of torture, explaining that the human smugglers had instructed him to say he was tortured so as to gain access to Australia.
Rohana said that since Anthony had not left Sri Lanka illegally and he was not filing a complaint alleging torture he would not be investigated any further. “Anthony left Sri Lanka and flew to Bangkok on a valid passport, it was when he left Bangkok and flew to Australia that he used forged documents. Since this was not done in Sri Lanka, no charges will be filed against him”, he added.
Anthony was deported from Australia on Wednesday, having spent over 2 years in the Maribyrnong Detention Centre in Melbourne applying for refugee status.
At the time of his departure Anthony’s brother-in-law told media that he feared for Anthony’s life as he believed that he would be arrested and tortured upon arrival in the country.