It would be beyond logic and common sense to expect anyone to identify Tamil Tiger combatants evading justice amongst a boat load of people claiming to be refugees fleeing persecution. These people do not carry identification tags, in most cases those who pay human smugglers to leave Sri Lanka have already invested a lot of money in printing false documentation. They are rarely who they claim to be.
That's why it was baffling that a UN official deemed all on board the vessel as legitimate refugees. It deals a severe blow to the UN when it's officials act based on emotion, not fact.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has already rejected visas for some of those on board, claiming they have links to the Tamil Tigers and they pose a security threat to Australia.
From The Australian:
The situation presents a conundrum for the government, which cannot return the four to Sri Lanka without exposing them to potential harm from the Sri Lankan government, which in May crushed the decades-old Tamil insurgency with a comprehensive military offensive. Australia would also be in breach of its legal obligations if it returned the four, as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has designated all 78 of the Sri Lankans as legal refugees. However, people subject to adverse security assessments are by law ineligible for an Australian visa, which means the four have no hope of coming to the Australian mainland.
Other countries will also be highly reluctant to take them now that Australia has deemed them a security risk.
What a mess! Instead of creating more opportunities for human smugglers, Australia must realise that the time is right to set the example. Their shores are no place for extremist and criminals looking to evade justice under the guise of being refugees.
There are millions residing in third world nations who will do anything to get out and start a new life in a developed nation. They are not refugees. The refugee process was never meant to allow economic migration, but to assist those in dire need.
In the mid 90s several members of my extended family sought refugee status in Canada, UK and Australia. None, however, fled Sri Lanka fearing persecution. All abused the generosity of the naive to evade business debts, or find better education for their children. Yet, they all claimed to be running away from either the Sri Lankan government or the Tamil Tigers. It was really that easy for two decades or more.
It annoys me to see those, even my own, sell out their motherland for personal gain.