Sri Lankan convicted of people smuggling
The 2 September sentencing of a 37-year-old Sri Lankan man to six–and-a-half years imprisonment in Australia for people smuggling offences is a warning that people smuggling will not be tolerated in Australia.
The convicted Sri Lankan, sentenced under Australia’s Migration ACT, was the captain of a vessel which was apprehended in Australian waters in September 2009. The vessel was carrying 54 Sri Lankan nationals.
Since 2009, Sri Lankan and Australian authorities, working with other countries in the region, have been successful in their efforts to break the criminal syndicates behind the people smuggling business. No vessels from Sri Lanka have been able to reach Australia since November 2009.
Sri Lanka’s Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Mr Suhada Gamalath, responded to the sentencing by saying that the conviction “gives great encouragement to our own authorities to intensify our activities against people smuggling from Sri Lanka.”
“Our two governments have been relentlessly working together to bring an end to people smuggling. We have launched a comprehensive, strong campaign against the scourge of people smuggling, particularly in the most vulnerable areas of the country.”
“Sri Lanka is presently reviewing our own related laws with the assistance of Australia and changes to our laws will be introduced soon.”
Since April 2009, Sri Lankan authorities have arrested 85 alleged people smugglers. Sri Lankan and Australian authorities will continue to work together to ensure those responsible for people smuggling are brought to justice.