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Australia hails 600 days of turning back asylum-seekers boats

The government claims its policy of sending boats with asylum seekers back to their own country has prevented many deaths at sea.

Suspected asylum seekers arrive at Christmas Island

Suspected asylum seekers arrive at Christmas Island

Australia has hailed its controversial policy of turning back asylum-seeker boats after no vessels reached the country in 600 days.

Almost 700 people have been denied admission to the country since Operation Sovereign Borders was launched in September 2013.

Under it, asylum seekers trying to reach Australia by boat are turned back to their country of departure or sent to remote Pacific island camps.

They are not allowed to resettle in Australia even if they are found to be genuine refugees.

The conservative government claims the measures help prevent deaths at sea.

Under the previous Labour administration, at least 1,200 people died trying to reach Australia by boat between 2008 and 2013.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said: “Tomorrow (Friday) marks 600 days since the last successful people-smuggling venture to our country and the government’s absolutely determined to make sure that it stays that way.”

He added that 25 boats carrying 698 people had been turned back and “safely returned to their country of departure” since the policy was introduced.

The detention centre at Christmas Island

The detention centre at Christmas Island

Civil rights groups have criticised conditions at the camps, while doctors have said the detention of children in particular has left some struggling with mental health problems.

Amnesty International has also called for an independent review into claims that Australian authorities paid people smugglers US$30,000 to return 65 asylum-seekers to Indonesia.

Mr Dutton said he was “very proud” the number of children in detention had fallen from almost 2,000 in June 2013 to just 29, and he was working to bring it down further.

Allegations of rape and other forms of abuse at one camp in Nauru were raised at a parliamentary inquiry last year.

A doctor who assessed inmates there said living conditions were unsafe and put vulnerable women and children at “considerable” risk.

Source: Sky News


About Ayotunde Aboderin

A professional blogger, an online Journalist and a passionate Immigration and visa Affairs individual.


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