GOVERNMENT TO SEEK RESOLUTION OF OUTSTANDING OCEANIC VIKING CASESPosted October 15, 2010
Australia has commenced offshore processing for the final contingent of 17 refugees rescued by the Oceanic Viking last year, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, said today.
The majority of the refugees rescued by the Oceanic Viking in October 2009 were referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for resettlement in third countries.
Australia originally resettled 15 of the caseload, while 40 others – more than half the group – have been resettled in other countries, including the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Norway.
“All of the 78 people from the Oceanic Viking were found to be refugees by the UNHCR and as such they cannot be returned to Sri Lanka,” Mr Bowen said.
“Most of this group were resettled in other countries but no third country could be found for the remaining 17, who are currently awaiting resolution of their cases in a UNHCR transit centre in Romania.
“Consequently, and in accordance with undertakings given to the group, they will be processed, and subject to meeting standard health, security and character requirements, resettled in Australia.
“These checks are usual practice for refugee resettlement under Australia’s offshore humanitarian program.”
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