Manila Bulletin

Sri Lankan PM: Refugees safe to come home


CAN­BERRA, Aus­tralia (AP) – Sri Lanka's prime min­is­ter says that Sri Lankan asy­lum seek­ers held on Pa­cific is­land camps who could po­ten­tially set­tle in the United States are free to re­turn home with­out fear of per­se­cu­tion. Prime Min­is­ter Ranil Wick­remesinghe made the com­ments on Wed­nes­day dur­ing a visit to Aus­tralia in which he dis­cussed bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion on com­bat­ing peo­ple smug­gling. No Sri Lankan asy­lum seeker has reached Aus­tralia by boat since 2013. But Sri Lankans, Ira­ni­ans and Afghans are the largest na­tional groups among more than 2,000 asy­lum seek­ers who are kept at Aus­tralia's ex­pense on the Pa­cific is­lands na­tions of Nauru and Pa­pua New Guinea.

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