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Around 20 pilgrims seek asylum in Australia

By Xinhua,

Canberra : Around 20 World Youth Day pilgrims have applied for asylum in Australia once their three-month visa expires, a support group says.

That number has not surprised the Asylum Seeker Center of New South Wales which is handling the applications.

“At this stage we’ve had about 20 people present to us as identified pilgrims, indicating that they’re needing to seek protection in Australia,” center director Tamara Domicelj told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

“Any large event in Australia is going to absolutely have in amongst the people who come here, those who are seeking protection,” he said.

The World Youth Day which took place in mid-July had attracted hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to participate.

“It’s a very clear and known means for people to flee persecution in their country of origin,” he said, adding that “We’re seeing people from Cameroon, we’re seeing people from Burundi, we’re seeing people from Kenya, we’re seeing people from Pakistan.”

It was hard to predict at this stage, whether there would be more applications.

“Obviously we’re aware that there are pilgrims out there who have been given three-month visas and so it might well be at the end of those three months we see a spike in applications for protection,” he added.