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* Australia returns 50 more Sri Lankan asylum seekers home
Sun, Nov 18, 2012, 12:06 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 18, Colombo: Australia has deported another group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers today from Christmas Island, a territory of Australia where illegal immigrants to the country are detained.

A group of 50 single adult men who had arrived on a number of boats from Sri Lanka recently has been returned involuntarily on a charter flight to Colombo from Christmas Island today, the office of Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen said Sunday.

"Without a valid visa they had no legal right to remain in Australia and were removed at the earliest opportunity," he said.

The men have been advised of their status and that they were subject to removal from Australia.

"They raised no issues that engaged Australia's international obligations," Bowen's office said in a statement.

With the latest send-off, since August 13, Australia has returned 282 Sri Lankans home involuntarily and a total of 380 both voluntarily and involuntarily.

According to the Australian Minister, people returned involuntarily do not have access to reintegration assistance.

Australia changed its policy on asylum seekers this year and the refugees arriving after August 13 will be sent to the detention centers in Nauru and Manus Island where they have to wait for a long period to obtain a legitimate visa.

"We will continue to regularly transfer illegal migrants to Nauru and shortly to Manus Island," Bowen said.

The Australian government says it will continue to return people where they do not engage Australia's international obligations.

The Minister's office said the Australian government is committed to breaking the people smuggling trade and preventing people from taking these dangerous boats to Australia.

Despite the recent return policy of the Australian government and Sri Lanka Navy's efforts arresting the illegal migrants, the trade of people smuggling is continuing.



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