Asylum seekers depart for Canada
By Tom Allard
The Sydney Morning Herald, December 19, 2009
The first of a group of asylum seekers who refused to go ashore in Indonesia from the Australian vessel, the Oceanic Viking, are expected to depart for asylum in Canada tomorrow.
The 15 men last month broke a month-long impasse with government officials to talk to Australian officers will leave the detention facility at Tanjung Pinang.
They were amongst 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who were rescued in international waters and in Indonesia's search and rescue zone and taken to Indonesia. Australia had picked the group up at Indonesia's request.
Their transfer to Canada has come five weeks after they first broke the impasse and disembarked from the Australian vessel. Under the deal, all asylum seekers would have a new home within 12 weeks.
Australian officials have said that most, if not all, of the asylum seekers would be settled in Australia but others with families in other countries would be given the chance to join their relatives.