Crackdown on Catholics blamed for Vietnam exodus
Numbers seeking Australian asylum see 30-fold rise
The boat intercepted yesterday with 84 asylum seekers on it (picture: Paul Bell?AFC News)
Immigration Department figures show a 30-fold increase in the number of Vietnamese people seeking asylum in Australia.
Yesterday a boat carrying 84 people - mainly Vietnamese - was intercepted in waters 50 kilometres away from the Kimberley town of Broome.
The group was brought ashore at the local port and has been transferred to the Curtin Detention Centre.
Department figures show 759 Vietnamese people have arrived by boat so far this year - up from fewer than 50 last year.
The Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul says it is a result of a Vietnamese government crackdown on dissidents and religious minorities.
"I guess I'm a little surprised, but it has been pretty obvious over the past couple of months that there have been increases in the number of people from Vietnam," he said.
"[That is] the result of the crackdown, on the underground Catholic Church in particular, in Vietnam."
Tri Vo, the president of the Vietnamese Community in Sydney, says he has no doubts about why they are fleeing.
"It's most probably due to the increase in the oppression and suppression of the people in Vietnam and the recent crackdown of the human rights activists, bloggers, media people and young people who are not afraid of speaking up, who demand democracy," he told The World Today.
Source: ABC News
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