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Jakarta Post

Indonesia demands time line for Sri Lankan asylum seekers

  • Ary Hermawan

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 30 2009   /  01:37 pm

The government said Thursday it would demand a time line of how long the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, on board an Australian vessel in Riau province, would stay in Indonesia once their statuses have been finalized. Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Indonesia could not afford to let the boat people, who wish to go to Australia, stay in its territory for an indefinite period of time, as has been the case in the past. "What would we do to them if they are not classified as refugees? And what would we do if they are? This has to be clear." Indonesia is struggling to cope with the rising number of illegal immigrants intercepted in its waters while making the perilous journey to its more prosperous southern neighbor. The 78 Sri Lankans are only one group of people currently seeking asylum in Australia. Another 255 Sri Lankans are refusing to get off a wo...