Paul Maley; 5/5/10; (2 Items)
Sri Lanka’s once-booming people-smuggling market is cooling, with Australian authorities recording no new boat arrivals since March. But while the Sri Lankan pipeline may have dried up, figures issued by the Immigration Department showed mainland detention centres are straining under the weight of boat arrivals from other countries. Some centres have been forced to move into so-called surge capacity, and the number of people housed in “alternative” detention such as motels or serviced apartments has increased. Despite ordering a spill of asylum-seekers to the mainland, Christmas Island is edging closer to its upgraded capacity of about 2400, with 2172 boat people on the island yesterday. The Australian has been told the pipeline for Sri Lankans, most of whom were members of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority, has eased dramatically in recent months.
See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/dramatic-drop-in-sri-lankan-boatpeople/story-e6frg6nf-1225862286670; Millions could head for our shores, Abbott says; Katherine Murphy; http://www.theage.com.au/national/millions-could-head-for-our-shores-abbott-says-20100504-u79d.html
Asylum seekers’ rescuers honoured for compassion
Lindsay Murdoch; 5/5/10;
Twelve months after being blown off an asylum seekers’ boat as it exploded near Ashmore Reef, Sharon Jager is still having counselling, struggles to avoid panic attacks and is unsure whether she will quit the Australian Defence Force. ”I have kept to myself as much as I can so I can deal with it within myself,” Lance Corporal Jager said yesterday, after receiving a Chief of the Defence Force Commendation. ”We are all trying to deal with it every day and move on.” Lance Corporal Jager and 19 other Darwin-based defence personnel who were involved in the rescue of passengers from the boat known as SIEV36 yesterday received commendations for ”outstanding service, courage, drive, dedication and compassion” at a ceremony at Darwin’s Larrakeyah Barracks.