The Sunday Leader

Australia May Send Lankans To PNG

The Australian Government says the 157 Sri Lankans who reached Australia by boat, will be sent to Nauru or Manus Island in the country of Papua New Guinea (PNG) if they are not sent back to India.

A statement by the Australian High Commission in Colombo said that Australia continues its work with regional partners to disrupt people smuggling ventures. On June 29, 2014 a Border Protection Command maritime asset provided assistance to an Indian flagged vessel outside Australia’s territorial waters.

The suspected illegal entry vessel was carrying 157 persons who had departed from South India. The 157 illegal maritime arrivals have been transferred to the Curtin Immigration Detention Centre.

The Australian Government will facilitate access by Indian Consular officials to those who indicate that they wish to avail themselves of this opportunity. It is Australian Government policy that they will not be settled in Australia.

If not sent back to India they will be subject to offshore processing in the country of Nauru or Manus Island in the country of Papua New Guinea.

Every boat that departs is encouraging people smugglers and their customers to think there is an illegal way to Australia. There is no way. The message to people smugglers from this recent venture is clear: Australia is committed to stopping you and your business, the Australian High Commission said.

The High Commission says people should not trust the lies of people smugglers and seek to come to Australia illegally by boat.

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