Lanka Tamils Approach UN for Settlement Issue in Aussie

31 August 2011 04:30 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Four Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, who were denied visas in Australia after being assessed as a potential security threat, are among a group of immigrant detainees who are seeking UN intervention into their case.

The men who are in immigration detention have been assessed as genuine refugees, but had their visas knocked down after being declared security threats by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), an ABC report said.

They are part of a group of 38 immigration detainees who are directly petitioning the United Nations to be immediately released into the community.

The men said they left behind their lives, family and country in 2009 because they were harassed by the Sri Lankan military and paramilitary forces.

"We lived in constant fear, we wanted to escape that and lead a normal life - that is why we have come here," Subramaniam Kokulakumar, one of the Tamils, was quoted as saying.

But after having their refugee claims upheld, the men were denied entry on security grounds.

"ASIO claims that we are a threat to national security," Tamil asylum seeker Sithiraseyanam Nigethan said.

"We have been classified as such even before we had entered the country. We don't know what to do next and it is affecting us psychologically," he said.

Another asylum seeker, Nararatam Selvakumar, said he had no links to the Tamil Tigers, yet their fate was hanging in balance.

"A murderer may be imprisoned for 10 years. But us, who have not done anything wrong, are here for an unknown period of time. No one is able to give us an answer," he said.

"I have a common knowledge of the Tigers, just like any other person in Sri Lanka. I know as much as what the international community knows. I don't know any more than that," Nigethan said.

Commenting on the issue, law expert at Sydney University, Ben Saul, said many people in Sri Lanka would have had some association with the Tamil Tigers.

"In a civil war like that, everybody in the north or east of Sri Lanka has some association with the Tamil Tigers. The Tamil Tigers (were) the government," he said.

Saul has been co-ordinating an appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on behalf of 38 asylum seekers in indefinite detention. The case also affects three children.

He said they cannot go back home because they have already been assessed as genuine refugees. (PTI)



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  • dilan Wednesday, 31 August 2011 09:12 AM

    Economic refugees.....Why does he leave the family and come if they are in danger?...he will work in australia, earn money and send back to their family in SL so they can live a comfortable life......typical economic refugeese....

    raj Thursday, 01 September 2011 04:54 AM

    Agreed.....If his family is in danger, Why did he leave them and come.....How selfish.....just shows this guy is lying....


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