July 28, 2013
The number of asylum seekers arriving by boat since the Australian government announced a new resettlement policy more than a week ago has climbed to 1267.
Home affairs Minister Jason Clare issued two statements on Saturday revealing details of two more boats intercepted on Friday.
One had 94 passengers and two crew on board, while the other was carrying 123 passengers and two crew.
AAP reports people on both vessels were taken to Christmas Island for initial identity and health checks before they are transferred to Papua New Guinea.
A spokesman for Mr Clare confirmed a total of 1267 arrivals on 16 boats since the government introduced the new PNG policy on 19 July.
Under the federal government’s deal with PNG, people arriving by boat will be denied resettlement in Australia, taken to Manus Island for processing and if their refugee status is approved, resettled in PNG.
AAP reports more than 1000 asylum seekers are already waiting on Christmas Island to be transferred to PNG.
AAP also reports an independent investigation into riots that burnt down accommodation at the Nauru detention centre and accusations of asylum seekers being raped on Manus Island will be set up this week.
Immigration Minister Tony Burke said segregated areas would be set up on Manus.
He also said 151 asylum seekers on Nauru are facing criminal charges and potentially long prison terms following the riots which caused an estimated $A60 million damage. Mr Burke vowed to rebuild the facilities.