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* Australia sends 31 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Nauru
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 07:18 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 28, Darwin: Australia has sent 31 male Sri Lankan asylum seekers to the detention centers in Nauru for offshore processing.

A chartered aircraft has brought the Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Nauru Friday morning after leaving from Darwin yesterday.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) today announced that it has successfully transferred the fifth group of asylum seekers to Nauru in the first transfer to depart from the mainland after setting off from Darwin.

The Sri Lankans have been escorted by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), DIAC staff, interpreters and medical staff.

On arrival in Nauru, they were subject to relevant immigration, customs and quarantine clearance processes.

They will now be settled into their accommodation at the temporary facility and go through induction processes, the DIAC said.

Under the new policy enacted on August 13, the asylum seekers face a long wait at an offshore detection center on Nauru or Papua New Guinea's Manus Island for processing of a legitimate visa.

The Australian government changed the policy to deter the arrivals of 'boat people' on the mainland or the Christmas Island.

"The completion of this transfer reaffirms the strong message of deterrence for anyone considering risking their lives on dangerous people smuggling boats. There will be no advantage for boat arrivals," the DIAC said in the release.

Australia last week sent 18 male Sri Lankan asylum seekers who were detained in the Christmas Islands back to Sri Lanka when they refused to be transferred to the detention centers in Nauru. The 18 adult men volunteered to return home rather than be sent to Nauru.

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