- Published on Monday, 10 December 2012 12:33
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The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) Saturday announced that a group of 20 asylum seekers was transferred to the Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The group of 20, made up of 16 Sri Lankans and four Iraqis, is the third batch of asylum seekers sent to PNG.
They left Christmas Island and arrived early on Saturday morning in PNG, escorted by Australian Federal Police, immigration, medical and children's services staff and interpreters. The latest transfer brings the total number of asylum seekers on Manus Island to 67, including an estimated 13 to 16 children, being housed at the temporary tent processing facility on PNG's Lombrum naval base in Manus province.
A spokesman for the Department of Immigration declined to give a breakdown on how many children are in the latest group.
"Selection of this group was based on operational considerations and an assessment of their particular circumstances to confirm transfer was appropriate," the department said in a statement. It said transfers would continue on a regular basis.
"The completion of this transfer reaffirms the strong message of deterrence for anyone considering risking their lives on dangerous people smuggling boats," the department said. "There will be no advantage for boat arrivals." The centre is expected to accommodate about 600 people when it is completed.