UN condemns Australia's forced return of SL refugee

22 December 2017 03:02 pm - 7     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The United Nations’ refugee agency has condemned Australia’s forced return of an asylum seeker to Sri Lanka without any assessment of his claim for protection, the Guardian reported on Friday.

The UN refugee agency has said the man, who was forced to return, is at serious risk of persecution in his homeland.

The UNHCR had sought assurances from the Australian government that the man would not be removed from the country and would be allowed to apply for protection.

However, the man had been forcibly removed from Villawood detention centre on Wednesday and flown back to Sri Lanka.

The Australian government has maintained that the man was removed because he missed its October 1 deadline to apply for protection, and was deemed not to be seeking protection.

However, lawyers appearing for the man said their client had a “credible claim” for protection, based on his Tamil ethnicity, and familial connection to the LTTE. It is not suggested he was a member of the LTTE.

A spokeswoman for the UNHCR, Catherine Stubberfield said the UN was aware of a number of asylum seekers who were unable to meet the government’s deadline of 1 October to submit their applications for asylum.

“Since July 2012, people who sought asylum by sea were excluded from lodging an application in Australia for up to four years. While they were all invited to apply by October 2016, some asylum seekers have been unable to complete this process within the time frame for a range of valid reasons, including a lack of access to legal representation. This was the case for the asylum seeker forcibly returned to Sri Lanka this week.”

It was a worrying breach of Australia’s international legal obligations, Stubberfield said.

“In this context, the return of an asylum-seeker - whose claim for international protection was not considered on its merits - presents a serious risk of return to danger or persecution.”

Regardless of ministerial deadlines, Australia is still legally bound by its non-refoulement obligations under the refugees’ convention. It cannot return a person to a place “where [their] life or freedom would be threatened,” Stubberfield said.

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  Comments - 7

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  • ceylon Friday, 22 December 2017 04:21 PM

    from the day one if acceptallow to stay.if dont want just dont accept.dont disturb people like this after allow to come in. via DM Android App

    Sincere Friday, 22 December 2017 08:06 PM

    Rather than poking their fingers into affairs of other sovereign nations, why cannot the UN find an empty island somewhere, develop it to the level of Australia with its own funds, and then ask anyone who wants to come into it, not as asylum seekers, but as legal migrants and enjoy a free lifestyle? Australia is not a paradise for asylum seekers, but it too has its economic woos to deal with. Un respect its laws!

    Samno Friday, 22 December 2017 09:24 PM

    Believe me or not Australians are a very selfish and high headed people. The only people who can teach them a lesson are the Chines. And I hope they do so.

    ceylon Friday, 22 December 2017 10:31 PM

    democratic countrys un democratic action. via DM Android App

    RV Pillai Saturday, 23 December 2017 10:32 AM

    We will watch and see what is happening to the Man who has been sent to his homeland. Was he prosecuted.. Is he free in SL? . Is UN also a part of International Human smuggling Agency.

    Sincere Saturday, 23 December 2017 02:41 PM

    When some refugees from a neighbouring country came into Sri Lanka recently, what was the reaction of some people of this country? Were they welcomed here? Were they accepted here? So why does anybody try to point finger at Australia in this matter? Doesn't it, as a sovereign nation, have the right to accept whoever it wants and reject whoever it does not? On the other hand, as per the PM, Sri Lanka is now economically booming. So why does anybody want to seek asylum elsewhere leaving this county with so much of economic prosperity?

    Martin Milton Saturday, 23 December 2017 05:03 PM

    I would support Australia's decision wholeheartedly here.anyone with an ounce of brains would know that all these are ECONOMIC migrants and in no way 'refugees'. It is an absolute con, concocted to hoodwink the Australian Government and innocent public. Well, the federal Government of Australia now are very much aware of the facts, and repatriation IS the way and should be THE NORM for such deceitful persons. MM.


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