September 28, 2012
Australia’s Immigration Department says the first transfer of asylum seekers from the mainland to Nauru underscores its message to people considering seeking asylum by boat.
The Australian Government has warned that any asylum seeker who arrived after the announcement of its new policy in August risked being processed offshore.
But it has emerged that instead of being transferred from Christmas Island directly to an offshore centre, some asylum seekers have been sent to mainland Australia.
Now the Immigration Department has announced that some of those asylum seekers have been sent to Nauru.
Thirty-one Sri Lankan men have been taken from the northern Australian city of Darwin to Nauru.
Australia says it shows anyone who arrived after the new policy is subject to the policy, whether they are on Christmas Island or the mainland.
The fifth group of asylum seekers to arrive on Nauru brings the total to almost 150.
Meanwhile, a boat carrying 180 asylum seekers has been intercepted off Christmas Island.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says a passenger on board the boat made contact with Federal Police on Friday to request assistance.
The people on board are being taken to Christmas Island.