Monday, 28 July 2014 - 13:14
Tamil asylum-seekers likely economic migrants from India -Australia
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison states that a group of 157 asylum-seekers held for weeks on the high seas on an Australian customs vessel were likely economic migrants from India,
He said the boat had come from the “safe” nation of India, and had not stopped anywhere else on the way.
He said they haven’t come from Sri Lanka or any other country.
The group, thought to be mostly ethnic Tamils from Sri Lanka and including women and children, left the Indian port of Pondicherry last month – but their boat was intercepted by Australian authorities.
The asylum-seekers were then held in limbo on the customs ship until Morrison announced on Friday they would be brought to Australia, where Indian consular officials would assess them with a view to taking them back to that country.
The group, now being held at the Curtin Detention Centre in Western Australia, is the first batch of asylum-seekers to reach the Australian mainland since December.
Morrison said Indian consular officials would travel to Curtin to determine their identity and residency, after New Delhi agreed to take back its citizens and consider taking Sri Lankans who were residents.