Boat People: direct from Lanka to Australia with WHAT?

Paige Taylor, in The Australian, 30 May 2012, where the title reads “Tamils cut out middlemen and sail straight here….. SEE select bibliography at End.

SRI Lankans are again seeking asylum from Australia by boat in large numbers and they are bypassing people-smugglers in Indonesia, instead sailing direct to Christmas Island. Immigration authorities believe the 88 Sri Lankans offloaded at Christmas Island yesterday were the latest in recent months to embark on the perilous boat trip of more than 3000km from Sri Lanka to the Australian territory of Christmas Island.

 Pic from Australian

The number of Sri Lankans seeking asylum by boat in Australia so far this year is already more than double last year’s total; since January 1, 586 Sri Lankans have reached Christmas Island. Last year, there were 211.The boatload of mostly young men taken ashore at Christmas Island yesterday was first spotted in the Indian Ocean by a Customs and Border Protection Dash 8 surveillance aircraft. The boat was not sinking and the men were not in distress, and they continued on their way to the island in their blue-and-white wooden fishing boat. It was fitted with a wheelhouse and a large gas bottle.

The Australian has been told the boat trip from Sri Lanka to Christmas Island can take about 30 days, while the journey from Indonesia to the Australian territory can be as short as 30 hours if the boat is good and the sea calm.

Melbourne Tamil Sara Nathan, a long-time advocate for Sri Lankan refugees, said it was possible more people were trying to flee Sri Lanka because lawlessness and trouble were on the rise in her old country.

Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in May 2009 when government forces seized the last area controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels. Ms Nathan said the eyes of the world were on the country immediately afterwards. “Now, there is not as much scrutiny and people are being abducted, there is more violence and stealing,” she said.

The number of Sri Lankans seeking asylum in Australia by boat in recent years peaked at 736 in 2009. In 2010, it fell to 536 and last year to a little more than 200.

In those years, some Sri Lankans came on fishing vessels direct from their own country and paid people in Sri Lanka to arrange their passage. But others went to Indonesia first and were put on boats with asylum-seekers from other countries, such as Afghanistan and Iran, for the much shorter boat trip.

BREAKING NEWS: Sri Lanka detains 113 on way to Australia, Monday, 28 May 2012 8:00:51 PM by IANS  

Colombo, May 28 (IANS) The Sri Lankan police Monday arrested 113 people as they attempted to set sail to Australia illegally. Six human smugglers were also arrested in the pre-dawn operation in Colombo and in the coastal town of Negombo, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said. Vehicles used to transport the asylum seekers were also seized, Xinhua reported. Each person had paid over $2,000 for the illegal journey aboard a boat to Australia. Sri Lanka and Australia have an agreement to check illegal immigrants.

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY….  added by Web Editor

Island 2012 “Lankan refugee makes strip-search claim?”

Noel Nadesan 2011

Charles de Havilland 2012 “Sri Lanka UNICEF expands family reunion programme,”

The Canadian Press 2010 “Some Tamil boat people already rejected  in UK,”

Ben Doherty 2011 “Lost in translation: Tamil refugees in India and their dangerous gambles,”

Paige Taylor  2011 “Little Brindha rejected by the Immigration Department,”

Debbie Guest 2012 “Tamil boat people from the Merak speak of betrayal,”

The Tamil Boat People Controversy,

Lorne Waldman 2012 “How we should deal with the Tamil boat people,”–how-we-should-deal-with-the-tamil-boat-people

Chamikara Weerasinghe 2011 “Resettlement of Tamil Refugees in India within Sri Lanka in Progress,”

and MICHAEL ROBERTS on this topic

* “Adjutant Australia: Controlling Boat People,” 17 Nov. 2009,

* “Tamil Migration within and beyond Sri Lanka,” 5 October 2009,

* “Taken in by Tamil Tall Tales,” 4 Nov 2009,

* “Adjutant Australia: Controlling Boat People,” 7 Nov 2009,

* “Crude reasoning,” 17 November 2009,

* “ ‘Alex’ Kuhendrarajah and the Australian media,” 20 January 2010,

* “Boat People as Blanket Categories,” 19 April 2010,

* “Aussies swallow Lies and Rajapaksas miss a Trick,” 31 Oct. 2010,

* “From “Leaky Wooden Boats” to the Imbecile Asian,” 27 December 2010 =

1 Comment

Filed under asylum-seekers, australian media, immigration, island economy, LTTE, people smugglers, politIcal discourse, population, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes

One response to “Boat People: direct from Lanka to Australia with WHAT?

  1. Pingback: A Flourishing Bibliographical Tree: Tamil Migration, Asylum-Seekers and Australia | Thuppahi's Blog

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