Twist as Tamil refugees arrive today

Paul Maley; 30/12/09; (2 Items)

Sixteen Tamil refugees rescued by the Oceanic Viking will begin arriving in Australia today, six via the Christmas Island detention centre. Forty of the Sri Lankan Tamils left Indonesia’s Tanjung Pinang detention centre yesterday morning, courtesy of a special deal underwritten by the Rudd government to fast-track their resettlement in exchange for ending their month-long standoff aboard the Customs boat. In an unlikely twist, The Australian has been told six of the Tamils will travel straight from Indonesia to Christmas Island, where three of them – a mother and her two young children – will be reunited with their husband and father. It is understood the woman asked to be taken to her husband, who came to Australia via a separate asylum boat about six months ago.

See:; Tamils leave Indonesia en route to Australia; Paul Maley; 29/12/09;

Minister opens door to Hmong refugees
The federal government has condemned the forced repatriation of 4000 ethnic Hmong to their native Laos, saying Australia’s doors are open to genuine refugees. Thousands of Hmong asylum-seekers have been forced back to Laos by Thai troops, sparking global criticism amid fears the group could face persecution on their return. A Thai force of 5000, armed with batons and shields, entered a camp in northern Phetchabun province before dawn on Monday and loaded 4371 Hmong on to trucks for the trip to Laos. They were taken to the central province of Bolikhamsay.

Hmong families fearful for deported relatives
See:; Australia offers new home for expelled Hmong; Ben Doherty; 30/12/09;