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PA/22/12 14 September 2012
FIRST TRANSFER TO NAURU
The Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, today announced the successful first transfer of irregular maritime entrants to the Pacific island nation of Nauru, where their claims will be processed.
A group of 30 Sri Lankan single adult men departed Christmas Island on 13 September on a charter aircraft, escorted by the Australian Federal Police, Department of Immigration and Citizenship and medical staff. They arrived in Nauru at 7.44am EST on 14 September.
“The first transfer to Nauru has taken place smoothly, sending a strong deterrence message to anyone considering risking their lives on dangerous boat journeys,” Mr Bowen said.
Australia’s Acting High Commissioner Lachlan Strahan said “There have been some recent attempts by people of Sri Lankan origin to travel from southern India by boat to enter Australia. This new transfer policy sends a clear message to all people smugglers and potential asylum seekers that if you attempt to journey to Australia by boat you could be relocated and have your claims processed in another country”.
There are no blanket exemptions to the Australian Government’s offshore processing policy: it applies to all asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat.
There is no guarantee that people who arrive by boat will ever come to Australia.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian and Nauruan governments was signed on 29 August. Accommodation and other facilities at Nauru have now been established and Nauru is designated as a ‘regional processing country’ under the new provisions of the Australian Migration Act 1958.
Transfers will now continue to take place regularly.
Media Contacts: Bill Kyriakopoulos +61 400 510 802 / Laura Stevens +61 432 833 769