Canberra, June 22 (IANS) Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Wednesday confirmed that an unknown number of Vietnamese immigrants, whose boat was intercepted by authorities earlier this month, have been sent back to their country.
Those on board seeking protection and asylum in Australia were forced to return to their country after being detained by coast guards patrolling the water frontier, Dutton said, without providing further information about the incident, EFE news reported.
“They claimed that they wanted protection, it was found that they were not owed protection and they were returned to Vietnam,” he said.
Australia maintains a strict immigration policy, including the repatriation of asylum seekers attempting to enter the country by sea, detention, or relocation to a third country.
Thousands of migrants make the journey from Indonesia to Australia every year but most of them are intercepted by Australian coast guards.
Many of them have fled conflicts in Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria, while others are seeking to escape discrimination such as members of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.