• Friday, April 19, 2024

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Arrival of south Asian migrants on board boat sparks row in Australia

The migrants, some photographed as they rested in a park, said they were from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

About three dozen foreign nationals were found by locals last Friday (16) as they walked in separate groups by the coast in northwestern Australia’s Dampier Peninsula (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

By: Eastern Eye

DOZENS of migrants reportedly landed by boat in a remote part of Western Australia, igniting a political row over the country’s zero-tolerance border protection regime.

About three dozen foreign nationals were found by locals last Friday (16) as they walked in separate groups by the coast in northwestern Australia’s Dampier Peninsula, according to national broadcaster ABC.

“The conditions were very hot. Some of them seemed dizzy and wobbling a bit,” resident Melissa Smith was quoted as saying.

The migrants, some photographed as they rested in a park, said they were from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and one of them reportedly told the ABC he planned to seek asylum.

The Australian Border Force confirmed it was “undertaking an operation in the northwest of Australia” but declined to give details.

“Australia’s tough border protection policies mean no one who travels unauthorised by boat will ever be allowed to settle permanently in Australia,” it said.

Under the stringent policy launched more than a decade ago, Australia has turned back boats and sent thousands of migrants to offshore “processing centres” on the Pacific islands of Manus and Nauru.

The policy dramatically cut the number of attempted ocean crossings, but it has been criticised by human rights groups.

The latest arrivals sparked opposition accusations that prime minister Anthony Albanese and his centre-left Labour government had encouraged people smugglers by being weak on migration.

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