What Happens to Failed Asylum Seekers Who Return to Sri Lanka

australia boat

MORE than half of the 66 Sri Lankans who reached the Australian mainland on a fishing vessel last week have been sent back to Colombo on a charter flight, as Sri Lankan officials warned the reintegration of failed asylum-seekers was posing challenges.

Last night, 38 of 66 men, women and children who claimed to have survived an epic 44-day journey at sea before reaching Geraldton harbour were on a return flight to Sri Lanka, after the Gillard government determined it did not owe them protection under international refugee law.

Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor declared the decision to return 39 boat arrivals – including one who travelled on a different boat – to Sri Lanka would send a “powerful signal” to those contemplating the dangerous boat journey to Australia.

He said the Sri Lankans had not “raised issues that engaged Australia’s international obligations” and had no legal right to remain here without a valid visa.

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