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Sri Lanka’s boatpeople face return to island or transfer to PNG: Australia

July 30, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s boatpeople face return to island or transfer to Papua New Guinea, an island off the Australian coast as 68 Lankans are shortly to be put through an enhanced screening processes, the country said.

Almost 1300 Sri Lankans have been sent home since August 2012, 1100 of them involuntarily. "They (boat people) face the same assessment process that of unauthorised maritime arrivals of Sri Lankan background has since last year when the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) took steps to stem an upsurge in boat arrivals, an Australian government statement said.

Those who are screened out will be returned to Colombo as soon as possible, often within days, DIAC spokesman said.

Those entitled to asylum will not be able to settle in Australia but in PNG.

The prime ministers of Australia and PNG signed a new agreement, where all people arriving by boat without a visa from July 19 will be sent to PNG, where their claims will be assessed.

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