ABC: Sri Lankan cricketers are fronting an advertising campaign by the Australian Government to discourage asylum seekers from taking boat journeys to Australia. Lasith Malinga and Muttiah Muralitharan have signed on to the campaign, which targets ethnic communities in Australia to tell their relatives not to risk their lives.
Australia’s Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor says it is an important part of the government’s strategy to stop people smuggling.
“This is actually communicating directly to diaspora communities,” he said. “Sending the message that not only is it too dangerous to take these perilous journeys, but also to communicate to them we have new laws since August last year that will give them no advantage.”
The ‘Don’t be sorry’ campaign comes in the wake of the deaths of 98 Burmese asylum seekers at sea earlier this week. 32 people were picked up by the Sri Lankan Navy after surviving for two months drifting at sea. The bodies of those who died of starvation and dehydration during the voyage were reportedly thrown overboard.