Wednesday, September 02, 2009

More Good News on Asylum....

Here's some heartening news from around the world, seeing as we've all been interested in asylum and refugee issues of late. The first story is from Denmark, fast becoming one of Europe's most sensible countries, and the original article can be found here.

The second is from Australia.

Iraqis Sent Home

Rejected asylum seekers thrown out of the country in a covert police operation early this morning

A group of 22 Iraqis have been forcibly repatriated after having their applications for asylum in Denmark rejected.

The 21 men and one woman were flown out of Odense Airport headed for Baghdad at 7:30am today.

A police convoy arrived at the Ellebæk detention centre in North Zealand late last night to fetch the Iraqis.

Refugee support network Kirke Asyl, which has been keeping vigil by the Ellebæk centre, was immediately notified and demonstrators started making their way to the centre and to Roskilde and Copenhagen airports.

Police carried out 54 preventative arrests on a bus full of demonstrators travelling to Ellebæk last night. They have since been released.

Protestors also gathered at Roskilde airport as there was a large police presence there, but it emerged that they were waiting for the prime minister’s arrival at the airport.

Rolf Brems, a spokesman from Odense Airport confirmed to Fyens Stifitstidende newspaper that the Iraqis had departed for Baghdad at 7:30am.

Up to 70 police officers were seen leaving the airport a short time later.

‘I have never seen so many officers before. They were simply everywhere, even the control tower was occupied,’ Brems said.

The 22 Iraqis repatriated today follow 13 previous repatriations.

Police spokesman Niels-Otto Fisker told The Copenhagen Post that police have yet to finalise the numbers of remaining Iraqis facing repatriation and will release the figures later this week.

Australia stops boat carrying 52 asylum seekers

SYDNEY — Australian authorities intercepted a boat carrying 52 suspected asylum seekers on Saturday, the 18th such vessel to be discovered this year.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said a Navy patrol boat detected the vessel as it approached Australian waters off the northwest coast and it was stopped near the Ashmore Islands.

"Initial indications suggest 52 passengers and three crew are on board the vessel," O'Connor said.

The group would be taken to Christmas Island, home to Australia's largest immigration detention centre, for health, security and identity checks, he added.

Hundreds of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq have landed in Australia this year, with a total of 18 illegal boats intercepted since January.

Opposition politicians blame the influx on moves by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to relax the tough immigration policies of his predecessor John Howard.

But the government says increasing global turmoil is behind the spike in arrivals.

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