A further 15 Sri Lankan irregular maritime arrivals have been returned to Colombo after failing to meet Australiaâ€™s international obligations, the Australian High Commission in Colombo qouted a spokesman for the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship as saying.
The group departed Christmas Island yesterday. Their return takes the number of Sri Lankans sent home to 1285 â€“ 1072 of them involuntarily since August last year.
â€œReturning the group to Sri Lanka sends a powerful message,â€ the spokesman said.
â€œThis is making it crystal clear that those who pay smugglers are throwing their money away and risking their lives in the process.
â€œWhen people arrive in Australia without authorisation, any claims they make for their reasons to travel to Australia are assessed by the department.
â€œIf these claims are not covered by Australiaâ€™s international obligations, they will be returned to their homeland wherever possible.
â€œWe will continue to transfer people to Nauru and Manus Island.â€
People returned involuntarily do not have access to reintegration assistance.