MORE than 70 Indonesians and Sri Lankans who arrived by boat in Australian waters are among unauthorised arrivals to be returned to their home countries.

Nine Sri Lankans will also be flown home after failing in their applications for protection visas.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Evans says 58 Indonesians and four crew members who arrived off Australia earlier this year were to be sent back to Jakarta later today.

They were expected to be flown directly from Christmas Island, where they have been detained for processing.

The group of Sri Lankans were flown to a Perth detention centre on Thursday ahead of their transfer home.

Other Indonesian asylum seekers who claimed to be economic refugees have been returned home in the past two years.

The spokesman said the group to be returned on Friday had not sought protection visas.

Sri Lankans to be flowh home

Last night the men were being flown from Christmas Island, where they have been detained since arriving in November, to Perth, The Australian reports.

They are expected to be detained for two days before being placed on a commercial flight to Sri Lanka.

The men were part of a group of 12 whose boat reached Shark Bay, 800km north of Perth, before being spotted by campers. Two of the men have already returned home voluntarily.

The Australian understands the nine men were found by Department of Immigration and Citizenship to have come to Australia in search of work.

Another man from the group remains on Christmas Island where he is appealing the rejection of his asylum claim through the Federal Court.

Last night Immigration Minister Chris Evans said none of the men would be in danger when returned to Sri Lanka.

"All protection issues raised by this particular group have been fully assessed against Australia's international treaty obligations and there are no protection issues which would prevent their return to Sri Lanka," hesaid.

But refugee advocate Ian Rintoul said it was outrageous the government was deporting one of the men, Sarath Tennakoon, after he claimed his life would be in danger if forced to return.

In an interview with The Australian in August, Mr Tennakoon said he had told the Department of Immigration and Citizenship that his life was in danger after he was identified by the Tamil Tigers as a member of the air force intelligence unit in 2002.

"The appalling human rights abuses of the Sri Lankan government is well known to the world," Mr Rintoul said.

"It is too dangerous for anyone with problems with the Sri Lankan government, Tamil or Sinhalese, to be sent back."

Mr Rintoul said he was attempting to lodge a last-minute appeal to the Federal Court against Mr Tennakoon's deportation.

All nine men appealed against the department's decision to the refugee review tribunal but were unsuccessful.

To date, 22 people detained on Christmas Island have returned home voluntarily and a further 58 Indonesian men are expected to leave voluntarily this weekend.,00.html