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Lankan refugees believed to be Tamil Tigers

4 November 2011 02:30 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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At least 40 of the 44 boatpeople who have been declared security threats by ASIO are believed to be Sri Lankan Tamils.The Tamils are thought to have links to that country's terrorist organisation.

All 44 have been found to be legitimate refugees, meaning they cannot be returned to their homeland.
The growing number of asylum-seekers in Australian detention centres who are both refugees and security threats represents a serious long-term challenge for the government.

Under the Migration Act, people issued adverse security assessments are disqualified from holding an Australian visa.

But the UN Convention on Refugees, which Australia has signed, means it is illegal to return refugees to the country from which they have fled.
The result is indefinite immigration detention.

The Weekend Australian understands that at least 40 of those refugees are Sri Lankan Tamils whom ASIO suspects had links with the defeated terrorist organisation, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam.

The remainder are understood to be Burmese Rohingyas.

The end of Sri Lanka's brutal civil war in May 2009 resulted in an exodus of Tamils, many of whom came to Australia by boat.

The overwhelming majority were civilians with no known connection to the LTTE, but a handful are believed to have belonged to cadres.
Bala Vigneswaran, the national co-ordinator for refugee affairs for the Australian Tamil Congress, has had extensive dealings with the suspect Tamils.

He said ASIO gave no reasons for its determinations, but the links that had emerged were banal and innocuous.

"Only one person I know was a member of the LTTE," he said. "He was a paramedic. He was helping a lot of normal people . . . The LTTE got him in to help with fallen comrades."

Shanaka Jayasekara at Macquarie University's Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism said while the LTTE had not traditionally posed a threat outside Sri Lanka, there was a danger former cadres could put their "skill sets" to dangerous uses.

"It is more the training they bring with them, the skills," Mr. Jayasekara told The Weekend Australian. "Many of them have been involved in combat operations. If they were in the international wing, they've been involved in weapons procurement."

In August, the 40 asylum-seekers who have been denied visas after the adverse ASIO assessment appealed to the UN Human Rights Committee in a bid to end what they say is cruel and unusual punishment.

Ben Saul, professor of law at the University of Sydney, is co-ordinating the complaint on behalf of the asylum-seekers, some of whom have been in detention for more than two years.

Professor Saul said the complaint was being made under the optional protocol on the UN Covenant on International and Civil Rights, to which Australia is a signatory.

Under the protocol, individuals can directly petition the UN if all domestic legal options have been exhausted. (Source: The Australian)
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  • Nodrog Attiv Sunday, 06 November 2011 05:24 AM

    If they were connected to the LTTE means they are terrorist and commited crimes aginst their country and countrymen. They should be sent back to face the legal consequences and not given asylum. You are only paving the way for even murderers to arrive in your country illegally and claim asylum.


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