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Dhaka Tribune

5 Bangladeshi asylum seekers sent to PNG from Australia

Update : 28 Aug 2013, 07:25 PM

Five Bangladeshi asylum seekers in Australia have been transferred to Papua New Guinea (PNG) under Canberra’s new immigration policy.

“It has been ascertained that five Bangladesh nationals, who were among a group of 40 asylum seekers of different nationalities, were transferred to Papua New Guinea on August 23 under a regional agreement,” M Shameem Ahsan, a director-general at the Bangladesh foreign ministry, said Wednesday.

Details about the Bangladeshi nationals were not immediately available.

The foreign ministry has instructed the Bangladesh mission in Canberra, the Australian capital, to get information about the asylum seekers and take appropriate action, Ahsan said.

Under the new Regional Settlement Arrangement signed between Australia and Papua New Guinea on July 19, 2013, all unauthorised maritime arrivals will be sent to the south-eastern Pacific nation for assessment, and if found to be genuine refugees, will be settled there.

Those found not to be genuine refugees, may be returned to their home countries, or to a third country where they have a right of residence, or held in a transit facility.

On July 29, Greg Wilcock, the Australian high commissioner in Dhaka, said his government was working with Bangladeshi authorities to verify the identities of the Bangladeshis who had entered Australia by sea without visas. The envoy also said asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat without visas will never be allowed to settle there.

“This is a general message for all those who are considering travelling to Australia without any visa, and purchasing a dangerous boat journey to Australia from a people smuggler,” he said.  

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