Colombo, May 30 (BAN/ AD): Australian authorities had detained a boat carrying 20 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who were on way to Australia. Authorities have confirmed 20 people are returned to Sri Lanka. According to reports in the Australian, the vessel, which was carrying at least one baby, was spotted in the Indian Ocean heading for the north-west coast.
Detainees had spent few days in Christmas Island before being flown to Colombo on a government charter jet on Wednesday after their asylum claims were rejected. These people had left lanka first week of May not long after the deadly Easter bombing attacks on hotels and churches. It is the first time in five years that asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia have been taken by sea to Christmas Island.
The UN has warned that Australia’s policy of pushing back boats containing asylum seekers is illegal under international law, and criticised previous instances of the forced return of people to Sri Lanka without proper assessment of their asylum claims.