A boat carrying asylum seekers was intercepted 200 metres from Christmas Island. Unconfirmed reports indicate the boat was towed by an Australian navy patrol boat out to sea. This boat was the first to reach Australian waters since June 2014. It is not yet known where the boat departed from.
In Indonesia, The Jakata Post reported that Coordinating Minister for political, legal and security affairs, Luhut Panjaitan, had suggested offering an island as a temporary refugee camp. However Mr Panjaitan has denied offering Australia an island to temporarily house refugees and asylum seekers.
In Europe, investigations into the terror attacks in Paris continue, with reports that a passport issued to a Syrian asylum seeker was found at the scene of one of the attack sites. In response to the events in Paris, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has made a statement “cautioning against the scapegoating of refugees”, reiterating the importance of preserving the integrity of the asylum system and acknowledging that the overwhelming majority of people coming to Europe are fleeing persecution.
In the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris, concern was raised about Australia’s acceptance of refugees, and in particular this new intake of 12,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq. Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton rejected the call from a New South Wales State Government MP to stop accepting refugees from the Middle East and to close Australia’s borders, and indicated a continuation of existing border protection policies. A Syrian family of five arrived in Perth. This family is part of the first group of 200 selected Syrians to be the first of the 12,000 refugees to be resettled in Australia.