International deal to resettle 78 Tamils in several countries

Paul Maley; 17/12/09

Australia is on the verge of clinching a deal with New Zealand, Canada, Norway and possibly the US to help resettle the 78 Tamil asylum-seekers rescued by the Australian Customs vessel the Oceanic Viking. The Australian understands a number of countries have indicated a willingness to take some of the Sri Lankans, who were rescued in October after their boat foundered. However, while sources say “a significant” number of the Sri Lankans are expected to be resettled in third countries, Australia is still set to take the majority. News of the expected breakthrough came as a boat carrying 55 people was intercepted off Ashmore Reef on Tuesday night. The interception – the 54th this year – will push the immigration detention centre on Christmas Island to a boatload from breaking point.

See:; Latest asylum boat arrival pushes Christmas Island to the brink; Paul Maley; 17/12/09;