A group of 100 Sri Lankan men had been sent home to Sri Lanka from Australia today, the ninth involuntary removal this month and the largest return to Colombo to date.
The Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, said the Sri Lankan men were all recent arrivals from a number of different boats.
“This latest removal was achieved with the cooperation of the Royal Australian Air Force who made a KC-30 aircraft available to enable a larger number of people to be removed at one time than was previously possible,” Mr Bowen said.
“This group of 100 people takes to 426 the number of Sri Lankans returned involuntarily since 13 August, as we continue to return people where they do not engage Australia’s international obligations. The message here is very clear: people who pay smugglers are risking their lives and throwing their money away. They are being told lies. There is no visa on arrival, there is no speedy outcome, and there is no special treatment.”
The Sri Lankan men were advised of their status and that they were subject to removal from Australia. They raised no issues that engaged Australia’s international obligations.
Without a valid visa they had no legal right to remain in Australia and were removed at the earliest opportunity.
“The Government is absolute in its resolve to implement the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers to break the people smuggling trade, stop the flow of boats and prevent people from taking these dangerous boats to Australia,” Mr Bowen said.
“We will continue to return people to Sri Lanka, we will continue to transfer people to Nauru, and now to Manus Island as well.”
Since 13 August, 525 Sri Lankans have returned home – both voluntarily and involuntarily – as people realise that these smugglers only sell lies and false promises about what awaits people in Australia.
Yesterday, the Australian Government also completed the first involuntary return of an Afghan man found not to be a refugee under Australia’s return agreement with Afghanistan. People returned involuntarily do not have access to reintegration assistance.