The waves of asylum seekers arriving in Sri Lanka
Monday, July 2, 2012
An increase in the number of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka who come to Australia by boat in the last three weeks - three times the number that arrived in the past year - has risen above the arrival numbers in 2009 , when the country was plunged into a brutal civil war.
Already in the first half of 2012, 1346 asylum seekers who claimed to have come from Sri Lanka have arrived in Australian territory, more than six times the 211'''' irregular maritime arrivals throughout the year.
And nearly half of all arrivals this year have come in the last three weeks. Immigration Department figures provided to the old on June 12 showed that the number of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka during the calendar year was 708.
Previously, the number of Sri Lankans seeking asylum in Australia by boat peaked at 736 in 2009, government forces ended the year in the country 27 years of civil war in the fierce repression. In 2010, 536 Sri Lankans arrived by boat.
Most of the arrivals in Sri Lanka are Tamils, an ethnic minority concentrated in the north. The license of the majority of Sri Lanka, but a growing number are coming from southern India, where tens of thousands of Tamils living in refugee camps, and an established network of human traffickers operates.
The influx of asylum seekers who attempt the dangerous crossing of the Indian Ocean shows no signs of abating. Plus three groups of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka have been arrested in the past four days trying to flee the country for Australia.
Before dawn yesterday six people were arrested in Kalkudah, on the west coast of Sri Lanka. They were waiting to board a ship bound for Australia.
A day earlier, five men, mostly in northern Sri Lanka, were arrested by police in Kataragama. Police were alerted that the group was staying in a hostel while waiting for a ship promised. On Friday, the army of Sri Lanka reported its ships stopped a fishing boat bound for Australia.