Indonesia plans to send detained Sri Lankan asylum seekers home

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Jakarta, Nov 16(ANI): The Indonesian Government is reportedly planning to deport 255 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, whose boat was detained on its way to Australia last month and remains moored at the port of Merak in Java.

"Indonesia is losing patience with the asylum-seekers and they must leave. If necessary it is prepared to force many of the 255 Sri Lankans on to a navy warship to return them to the country they fled amid claims of persecution by the Sinhalese-dominated Government," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted a senior Government source, as saying.

"Some of them cannot be accepted here, we want to deport them back to their country. We are still negotiating it. They have entered our country illegally. They have no rights to stay here. We must repatriate them," the source added.

The deportation plan marks a significant hardening in Indonesia's policy towards irregular immigrants, and undermines Australia's hopes to negotiate a framework where both countries agree on a method of intercepting and processing boat people.

Indonesian government has also been pressuring the Australia Government to take many of the asylum seekers, while some will be kept in detention and are unlikely to be granted access to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (ANI)

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