Several Lankan migrants used India to reach Australia

When asked if the Australian authorities would take any additional preventive measures in the wake of recent illegal migration attempt by a group of Sri Lankan refugees from Kerala coast, he said there is already the Australian Government’s tough border protection measures like the Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB).Under OSB, anyone who comes to Australia illegally by boat without a visa will never be allowed to settle in Australia and no exception are made to women, children and unaccompanied children.When asked if they would take up this issue with the Government of India in the wake of the recent attempts of migration from here, he said: “The Government of Australia and Government of India already have a good working relationship on the issue of illegal migration through the bilateral Joint Working Ground on Counter-Terrorism and Trans-National Crime.” Even as migrants from poor and war-torn countries continue their risky journey to European countries for a better life, the data available with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australia, reveals that 171 Sri Lankan illegal migrants, including nine females and nine children, managed to reach Australian coast over the years, the New Indian Express reported.The data further stated that many of those migrants used the Indian sub-continent as their springboard to reach the Antipodean. However, the precise break-up of Lankans who illegally migrated to Australia from India is not available with the department. Out of the 2,028 people, around 407 were from Iran, 184 from New Zealand, and 171 from Sri Lanka, followed by 142 from China and 121 from Vietnam. Speaking to ‘Express’ through an e-mail communication, Jon Bonnar, Deputy Consul-General for South India, said it has also been estimated that over 1,200 people were died at sea trying to reach Australia between 2008 and 2013.There were no known incidents under Operation Sovereign Borders involving loss of life since December 2013, he said. He added that no separate statistics are available about the nationality of the dead people.However, 735 were people were also allowed to live in the community after being approved for a residence determination as on 31 August 2015, the report said. According to the data provided by the Australian Consulate, as on 31 August 2015, 2,028 people were detained by the Australian Immigration authorities and sent them to immigration detention facilities. The number includes 1,807 in immigration detention on the mainland and 221 in immigration detention on Christmas Island of Australia. read more

Even in war there are rules – UN official urges Security Council

Briefing the 15-member Council for the second time in less than a month, Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, reminded delegates of their “strong demands” regarding the inviolability of Syrian civilians as enshrined in the Council’s resolution 2139 which, she observed, had gone “unheard.”“In many parts of Syria the level of violence has worsened, with civilians continuing to pay heavily with loss of life, serious injuries, psychological trauma, ongoing and recurring displacement and massive damage to property and infrastructure,” Ms. Amos explained.“We have run out of words to fully explain the brutality, violence and callous disregard for human life which is a hallmark of this crisis,” she continued. “The international community has become numb to its impact with the vast numbers, regional reach and sense of political impasse.”Council resolution 2139, from February 2014, demands that all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, allow humanitarian access in Syria across conflict lines, in besieged areas and across borders. In addition, the resolution sought protection for civilians caught in the midst of the fighting and aimed to ensure that civilian facilities – such as hospitals and schools – remained untouched by the hostilities. Ms. Amos noted, however, that the resolution continued to be violated on all counts. While resolution 2139 called for an end to the indiscriminate use of weapons, Ms. Amos detailed how the Government continued to use barrel bombs; while the resolution demanded that all parties respect the principle of medical neutrality, she reported that hospitals across the country had been attacked and schools bombed from the air; while the Council condemned grave violations and abuses committed against children and women, sexual and gender based violence had increased since July and over 5.6 million children remained in need of immediate assistance. In addition, she said, reports of early and forced marriage were also on the rise. “This conflict is not only shattering Syria’s present,” warned Ms. Amos. “It is also destroying its future.” At the same time, the UN official lamented the constant use of siege warfare as numerous Syrian communities remained cut-off from basic assistance such as food and medicine. The use of siege, she said, had also become a cruel tactic, particularly when small amounts of aid were allowed into a beleaguered area “giving people hope, but so little it can only help a fraction of those in need.”“People’s hopes raised and then dashed,” she said. “Time and time again.”At the passing of resolution 2139 in February, there were 220,000 people besieged by either Government or opposition forces; of those, 212,000 remain besieged today – 185,000 people by Government forces and 26,500 people by opposition forces. Ms. Amos appealed to the international community to find a political end to the civil war “once and for all” and urged the Council to ramp up its efforts in ensuring that all parties involved in the Syrian conflict heed the body’s call and “comply with resolution 2139 in its entirety” because, as she explained, “even in war there are rules.” read more