Paul Maley; 27/4/09; (2 Items)
A top Sri Lankan official has played down the concerns of the Rudd Government that fighting in Sri Lanka could provoke an exodus of boatpeople from the country, saying most refugees were too poor to afford the journey. Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to Australia, Senaka Walgampaya, said most potential refugees in Sri Lanka did not have enough money to pay people-smugglers. As the Opposition yesterday renewed its attack on the Government’s handling of the boatpeople issue, Mr Walgampaya said most of the Sri Lankan asylum seekers who had arrived in Australia had been Sinhalese economic migrants. Referring to those affected by the fighting in Sri Lanka, he said: “These people don’t have the financial resources to pay anybody to smuggle them into Australia. The people who have the financial resources have earlier left these areas.”
See: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25390392-601,00.html; New arrivals have no right of asylum; Paige Taylor; 26/4/09; http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25387992-5013404,00.html
Tensions force Christmas Island school to segregate teen arrivals
Paige Taylor; 27/4/09
An unprecedented number of asylum-seeker students enrolling at Christmas Island’s only school has sparked tensions among the parents of local children and forced the principal to establish an offsite classroom to teach mostly male Afghan teenagers. Principal Ian Francis has responded to the concerns of some parents, who were anxious that the Afghan youths were to learn English in classrooms alongside rooms for much younger children in Years 4 and 5. Older asylum-seeker students will now undertake lessons on the site of the island’s old detention centre at Phosphate Hill, while younger asylum seekers, including a six-year-old boy, will remain at the school with almost 300 other children of residents. Mr Francis said the behaviour of the asylum-seeker youths already at the school had been exemplary and they were well-liked, but the surge in boat arrivals and the mood of resident parents had forced him to find additional accommodation.