Sri Lanka navy urges Australia to deport boatpeople
Sri Lankan navy officials have urged Australia to deport the growing number of boatpeople arriving from their country, saying it was the “best way” to deter people smugglers, a report said Saturday.
Sri Lanka’s naval operations director Commodore N. Attygalle and its head of naval intelligence Nishantha Ulugetenne told The Weekend Australian newspaper, Canberra ought to turn Sri Lankan asylum-seekers straight back home.
“When you start deporting then this problem will ease for us,” Commodore Ulugetenne told the newspaper.
“More than 1,500 Sri Lankans have landed in Australia in the last six months. What are you going to do with them, screen them one by one?”
Authorities in Colombo have seen a spike in people-smuggling traffic from its shores in recent months even though they have disrupted several attempts involving hundreds of asylum-seekers.
The surge has fuelled a political deadlock over the issue in Australia, with the government wishing to transfer boatpeople to Malaysia as a deterrent measure but the conservative opposition blocking the plan.