78 Sri Lankans rescued from Oceanic Viking granted refugee status

Paul Maley & Debbie Guest; 16/12/09

All of the 78 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers rescued by the Customs ship Oceanic Viking have been found to be refugees, increasing the pressure on the Rudd government to find a home for the Tamils. The Australian understands that the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has completed its assessment of the 78 asylum-seekers and designated all of them as genuine refugees. The designation means the Sri Lankans have cleared the first hurdle towards resettlement in a third country, a promise made by the Australian government in exchange for their ending a month-long sit-in aboard the Viking as it remained moored off Indonesia.

See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/sri-lankans-rescued-from-oceanic-viking-granted-refugee-status/story-e6frg6nf-1225810746242; Refugee makes his mark; 16/12/09; http://www.theage.com.au/national/refugee-makes-his-mark-20091215-kuk7.html; Christmas Island to get $50m package; 16/12/09; Jonathan Pearlman; http://www.smh.com.au/national/christmas-island-to-get-50m-package-20091215-kuo6.html