Yesterday when chatting to volunteers in the Amnesty office kitchen, someone (nervously) asked me if Sri Lankan asylum seekers choosing to return home over going to Nauru meant that the government policies were working.
Before I could respond, another volunteer chipped in saying, "The government is misleading them and bribing them to go back."
Neither are exactly the case.
In the volunteers' defense, most people seem confused about this. So here's exactly what it does and does not mean that some asylum seekers have decided to return home.
Let's start with what it means.
It means that 47 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have decided that they will go home instead of waiting for their protection claims to be assessed. It means they have been offered $3,300 worth of assistance by the government to help them with their return.
And that's it.