Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 21
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
The body of an Iranian asylum seeker, killed during a violent breakout from an Australian-run detention camp at Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, will be repatriated to Iran, Australian Border Protection minister Scott Morrison said on Feb. 21, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Reza Barati, 23, killed earlier this week, arrived on Christmas Island last July and was transferred to Manus Island last August.
Morrison said that Australian diplomats in Iran had contacted his family, who had agreed for his details to be released.
Papua New Guinea is one of two South Pacific nations where Australia operates camps to house thousands of asylum seekers mostly from the Middle East, who have tried to enter the country illegally after dangerous sea journeys from Indonesia. Australia intercepts them at sea and sends them to camps on Manus Island or the tiny Pacific atoll nation of Nauru while their refugee claims are evaluated for resettlement in those countries.
The camp holds 1300 asylum seekers, all men from countries including Afghanistan, Sudan's Darfur region, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria.
The Australian government announced on July 19, 2013 that illegal migrants which enter Australia by boat will not be tolerated and will be sent to Papua New Guinea or back to their homeland.
Morrison said that Barati's body is currently being moved to Port Moresby with a police escort to 'maintain integrity of evidence'.
After police investigations are complete, Australia will assis' with the repatriation of Barati, he added.
The minister also named former head of the Attorney-General's department, Robert Cornall, to lead the government's inquiry into the violence on Manus Island earlier this week.
The terms of reference will be finalised next week and published on the department's website.
He also remarked that there were ''many answers that still have to come'' about the clashes that left Barati dead and dozens injured.
Morrison updated the number of asylum seekers injured during Monday's incident, revising the number from 77 to 62.
Some 3350 Iranian refugees are held in refugee camps in Australia, Iranian Jamejam newspaper quoted Australian Ambassador to Tehran Paul Foley in August 2013.
According to the report, 880 Iranians are also under conditional sentences in Australia.
About 6406 Iranians have entered Australia with boats illegally during last year.
Currently 30,000 Iranians are living in Australia legally, Foley said.
He added that 800 Iranian asylum seekers have been transferred to Papua New Guinea at present.
Edited by S.M.