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* Sri Lankan asylum seekers leave the boat
Mon, Apr 19, 2010, 08:44 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 19, Jakarta: Over 100 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees dwelled in a boat at the Indonesian port of Merak for the past six months have agreed to move to a detention center after they were promised to be given asylum in Australia, agency reports said.

Indonesian authorities transferred 122 men, women, and children to a Australian detention centre on the Riau islands near Singapore ending a six-month long stand-off between the asylum seekers and Indonesian and Australian officials.

The Sri Lankan Tamil refugees were refusing to leave the boat at port Merak demanding that they are given safe passage to Australia where they intended to seek asylum.

A group of 253 Tamil asylum seekers claiming persecution in Sri Lanka have fled to Australia last October. They were stopped by the Indonesian authorities on the request by Australian government. Since then some of them had been living in a boat at the Merak port refusing to leave the boat until they were granted asylum in Australia while few others had left.

Australia earlier this month announced that it is suspending the processing of Sri Lankan asylum claims for three months as the condition in Sri Lanka is improving since the war ended in the island nation last

Meanwhile, Australian government disclosed plans to re-open the detention center at the Curtin Air Base in Western Australia to hold Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum seekers whose applications for refugee status have been suspended.

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