89 asylum seekers refused and transferred to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre
Saturday, 27 March 2010
A group of 89 unsuccessful asylum seekers including Sri Lankans, Afghans, Iraqis and Iranians will be transferred to the mainland late today.
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said the irregular maritime arrivals have been assessed as not being owed Australia's protection.
The group of 89 is in addition to the 125 unsuccessful asylum seekers returned in 2009, and a further 19 removed so far in 2010.
‘This brings to 108 the total number of asylum seekers in the first three months of 2010 as having been assessed by my department as not being owed Australia's protection,’ Senator Evans said.
The group is being transferred by commercial charter to the high-security Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney.
‘Their movement to the mainland is considered the best way to manage such a group and has been made in consultation with relevant security agencies,’ the minister said.
‘This group of 89 will be entitled to a review hearing with an independent reviewer before removal action begins.’
Those members of the group of 89 who have not had access to a review hearing with an independent reviewer, will be entitled to do so before removal action begins.
The minister said government policy in relation to the processing of irregular maritime arrivals had not changed from that of the Howard Government and that such a transfer was not unprecedented. Similar transfers to the mainland took place under the former government on many occasions.
‘All intercepted irregular maritime arrivals will continue to be transferred to Christmas Island in line with the government's commitment to offshore processing and mandatory detention,’ Senator Evans said.
‘From time to time as necessary, groups or individuals may be moved to the mainland for a range of reasons including clients on a negative pathway or to facilitate removal.
‘This group's legal status is unchanged – they are still offshore entry people and will remain in detention.’
Last update: 29 March 2010 at 17:10 AEST