JULIA Gillard`s warning that more Sri Lanka
n refugee claims will fail has been applauded by the Sri Lankan government.
Yesterday, Ms Gillard announced the government would lift the three-month freeze on new Sri Lankan asylum claims and immediately resume the processing of 184 detained Sri Lankan boatpeople.
`I have a message for people in Sri Lanka who might be considering attempting the journey to Australia
,` the Prime Minister said.
`Do not pay a people-smuggler, do not risk your life, only to arrive in Australian waters and find that far, far more likely than not you will be quickly sent home by plane.`
The freeze was imposed to allow the government to review changed country circumstances.
Yesterday, Sri Lanka`s high commissioner to Australia, Senaka Walgampaya, said Ms Gillard`s stance would deter would-be boatpeople. `The government had to take a principled stand on it as some point,` Mr Walgampaya told The Australian.
Ms Gillard`s announcement means authorities can now start processing the 184 Sri Lankans affected by the suspension.
Tamil refugee Nixon, who did not wish to reveal his last name, paid $US15,000 to board a boat in Sri Lanka last year.
The 21-year-old, who spoke to The Australian yesterday through an interpreter, spent five months in detention on Christmas
Island before receiving a permanent refugee visa and relocating to Perth last November.
Nixon said any border protection policy should be aimed at treating asylum-seekers with respect and humanity.
`One of the people on my boat was so upset about the way things were going (on Christmas Island) and the length of time it took to get a visa that he tried to end his life,` Nixon said.
`Any policy should be making sure the mental stability of people who have come all this way is maintained.` Of the 194 Tamils who were on the same boat as Nixon, 20 remain in detention.
Nixon -- who is studying at TAFE and looking for casual work -- said Tony Abbott`s pledge to turn boats around was `absolutely horrible`.
`It is a very dangerous journey . . . I would be very disappointed if Australia started turning boats away and putting lives in danger,` Nixon said. `It is not the solution and I very much hope Mr Abbott rethinks that policy.`