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Indonesians On Christmas Is. To Be Returned Home

Senator Chris Evans
Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Indonesians on Christmas Island to be returned home

A group of 16 Indonesians currently detained on Christmas Island will be returned to Indonesia following the completion of interviews and health checks, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced today.

'My department has carefully explored with the group their reasons for travelling to Australia,' Senator Evans said.

'On the information provided, my department is satisfied that they have not raised issues which might engage Australia's protection obligations.

'This represents a firm but fair approach to the orderly migration of people to Australia.

'These people have been treated fairly and they have been dealt with appropriately - but they simply have not engaged our protection obligations under the Refugees Convention.

'I am a great supporter of the Refugees Convention and Australia is after all among the top three refugee resettlement countries in the world,' he said.

The 16 Indonesians were transferred to Christmas Island for assessment after the Royal Australian Navy rescued them from a wooden boat near an oil platform 650km west of Darwin on November 20.

They arrived at Christmas Island on November 25. The three families from Roti have been detained in the community following completion of health checks and Department of Immigration and Citizenship interviews.

'My department is making arrangements to return the group, in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Indonesian government, as soon as possible,' the minister said.

Senator Evans said the handling of the group demonstrated the Australian Government's commitment to dealing with unauthorised boat arrivals in a timely and effective manner.

'Maintaining Australia's orderly and successful migration program requires effective compliance and enforcement,' the minister said.

'However, people from other countries do not have a right to stay in Australia just because they would economically be better off here,' he added.


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