Indonesia takes refugees turned away by Australia

Asylum seekers tell rescuers that Australian authorities turned their boat back from reaching the country's waters.

Indonesia takes refugees turned away by Australia

World Bulletin / News Desk

 More than 60 asylum seekers who have been stranded on a southern Indonesian island since being turned away by Australia will be transferred to immigration authorities, according to police Tuesday.

Rote island’s police chief told Anadolu Agency that the 65 people who washed ashore in Landuti on Sunday night were seeking asylum in Australia, but were pushed away by the country's security forces upon reaching its territorial waters.

"They have been interrogated and will submit to the immigration agency this afternoon," Hidayat – who like many Indonesians uses only one name -- said, referring to an immigration institution in East Nusa Tenggara’s provincial capital Kupang city.

Four women including one who is pregnant, two children and one toddler were among the asylum seekers - 54 of whom are from Sri Lanka, 10 from Bangladesh and one from Myanmar.

Local police have arrested Monday afternoon a boat operator and two asylum seekers who fled when the boats – whose engines were damaged -- were discovered Sunday. Hidayat said police would provide tight security during the transfer.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for East Nusa Tenggara’s justice and human rights office has confirmed the transfer.

"That's right. They will be handed over to immigration authorities, but because our immigration detention home is full, they will then temporarily stay at a hotel," Yustina told Anadolu Agency.

The government of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott government was elected in 2013 after pledging to "stop the boats." The country has a policy of using offshore detention centers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea to process asylum seekers who arrive by sea on boats. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Haziran 2015, 13:29