Australia turns down Frederica’s resettlement application


Ms. Frederica Jansz, the former Editor of the Sunday Leader, yesterday confirmed that an application to re-settle in Australia had been turned down either in August or September, before she was replaced as editor.

Speaking on the phone from out of Colombo she said ``I don’t have the file with me so I can’t tell you exactly when. I think it was August or September while I was editor.’’

The Sydney Morning Herald extensively reported the Australian decision under a terse headline above a photograph of Jansz reading ``Case dismissed: death threat not persecution.’’

The Australian High Commission in Colombo said it had no comment.

Currently not employed, she said that the possibility of re-settling in Australia arose at a discussion with the Australian High Commission early this year when she was told that there were provisions for the issue of a ``humanitarian visa’’ by Canberra.

The mother of two children, given the context of the stress she had been facing for many years, she said ``this was something I could look at.’’

The Australian press reported yesterday that immigration officials in Australia had rejected her application ``ruling she did not face persecution.’’

She was quoted in the newspaper saying ``I’ve never wanted to leave, this is my country. I’ve always said I’m proud to be a Sri Lankan and I wanted to bring up my children here.

But I have received written death threats….and I am convinced they are going to throw me into jail, to teach me a lesson. And they are going to do it soon.’’

The report noted that relations between Australia and Sri Lanka are ``acutely sensitive’’ in the context of the boat people issue and quoted a spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship saying that while they don’t comment on individual cases, of more than 42,000 applications for humanitarian visas to Australia, last year only 6,700 could be accepted.

``While most applicants have suffered some form of discrimination or persecution, the limited number of visas available and the high demand for places means that only the most compelling cases are able to be resettled in Australia.’’

Well informed sources said that re-settlement applications on grounds of persecution are not entertained if they are made from the country where the alleged persecution occurs and must be made from a third country.

Jansz who said that she was under terms of her contract paid two years salary as severance pay when she was ``sacked’’ from the Sunday Leader indicated that she would not consider going to a third country with her children to reapply for resettlement in Australia.

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