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1,333 refugees, asylum seekers in the country: Minister

3 October 2017 02:53 pm - 22     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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While claiming that the group of 35 Myanmar refugees would be sent to third country, the Government today revealed that a total of 1,333 asylum seekers and refugees were residing in the country under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Addressing the media at the weekly media briefing today at the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Head Quarters Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said according to an MoU signed between the UNHCR and the Government, the Myanmar refugees should be sent to a third country as soon as possible.

The Minister pointed out that Sri Lanka was not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and because of that and the country could not take any responsibility based on the convention.

“But according to the international law countries should approach this kind issue with a humane aspect. India worked to provide temporary facilities for refugees. Though we did not sign the 1951 Refugee Convention we have worked to provide facilities for refugees since 2008,” The Minister said.

He said the refugees who came to Sri Lanka in 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014 had been sent to third countries such as the US and Canada for permanent residence through the intervention of the UNHCR.

“Those countries expressed willingness to grant residency to refugee as part of the UNHCR Convention,” he said.

“The Myanmar refugees, who recently came to the country, were from a camp in South India but not from Myanmar. The boat was captured by the Sri Lankan Navy after they entered to the Sri Lankan waters. Later the refugees were handed over to the UNHCR as usual since 2008.

“After handing over the refugees to the UNHCR the Sri Lankan Government is not in a bond to provide facilities for them. All infrastructure facilities should be provided by the UNHCR.

“There are 728 refugees in the country as at August 31 this year- such as 113 from Afghanistan, 7 from Iran, 8 from Maldives, 35 from Myanmar, 533 from Pakistan, 10 from Palestine, 1 from Somalia, 14 from Syria, 1 from Tunisia and 6 from Yemen.

“The UNHCR had taken the responsibly to send these people to a third country.

“If the people in society know the true story behind the refugee situation in the country they would not have acted like extremists,” Minister Samarasinghe said. (Chaturanga Pradeep)

Pix by Kushan Pathiraja

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  Comments - 22

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  • sanju Tuesday, 03 October 2017 03:17 PM

    After what has happened, we just pack them off ???What about the rape case ? Now does that policekaraya get let off the hook because you send the victim away ? Are you in cahoots with this police rapist ??? This insidious, dangerous man in uniform !Shame on you Samarasinghe, you disgrace. Hope you wife takes you to task.

    liyaname Tuesday, 03 October 2017 05:11 PM

    What about Sri Lankan - Tamil ?

    lahiru Tuesday, 03 October 2017 03:17 PM

    If Government publish this earlier, That kind of unfortunate incident would not be taken place.

    Lahiru Tuesday, 03 October 2017 05:43 PM

    I dont think so, this is an organized crime from thugs under the sheep cloths. They work for the money. Tomorrow they will make another drama with these information. They dont care about country image or respect another human being.

    nick Tuesday, 03 October 2017 03:19 PM

    his talking nonsense via DM Android App

    BuffaloaCitizen Tuesday, 03 October 2017 03:30 PM

    Simply said, we showed the world how uncivilized we Sinhalese are. Lord Buddha has stated we harvest what we sow, therefore their is no doubt we Sinhalese will also face 10 times karma for what we keep doing based on racism, religious intolerance, thuggery and criminality.

    Gayan Tuesday, 03 October 2017 08:10 PM

    Yes hope the sinhalese can learn from peace loving tamils.

    Raja Dharmadasa Wednesday, 04 October 2017 05:50 PM

    Gayan, well said. Some people want a piece and not peace.

    Killa Tuesday, 03 October 2017 03:33 PM

    Refugees didn't come to SL anyway, we merely saved them. No sane person will seek refuge in Sri Lanka

    surajnp Tuesday, 03 October 2017 03:56 PM

    Why do all these refugees come from Muslim countries? Aren't they follow the religion of peace?

    Hadam Tuesday, 03 October 2017 04:22 PM

    Exactly. This is what happens when follow peace. You end up has refugee.

    Lal Tuesday, 03 October 2017 07:04 PM

    Myanmar is Buddhist

    Lord Wolfstein Tuesday, 03 October 2017 04:40 PM

    2 million Sri Lankan refugees are living in other countries. It is now the duty of Sri Lanka to sign the UN Refugee Convention. It is typical for this country to shift responsibility and costs to others. The time is ripe to pay back the humanitarian debt.

    Lokka Tuesday, 03 October 2017 08:52 PM

    They are not refugees. But illegal immigrants in search of greener pastures

    Nostradamus Tuesday, 03 October 2017 04:56 PM

    Ok. But why is it the Minister of Ports and Shiping who has to convey these informations Why do we have a Minister of Foreign Affairs and his deputy It looks as Mahinda Samarasinghe would have been a better joice to then Marapane..... via DM Android App

    Dilan Fernando Tuesday, 03 October 2017 05:07 PM

    Why not rich Arab countries accept refugees? Have any one seen refugees in Saudi, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman?

    Duminda Tuesday, 03 October 2017 05:35 PM

    Yes, there are refugees in Saudi, UAE and Qatar. Have visited them

    Hadam Tuesday, 03 October 2017 08:32 PM

    What you think conditions of Sri Lankans are in those countries...?

    Don Tuesday, 03 October 2017 06:23 PM

    What's the big deal, some countries have millions of refugees. We should be proud that refugees consider SL as a safe country. These are people who have gone through hell, just treat them with kindness and empathy, isn't that buddhism is all about.

    jaliya_bxr Tuesday, 03 October 2017 08:01 PM

    Once again Sri Lankans are showing off their ignorance impatience uncivilization selfishness and idiotic sentiment. Many of these refugees did not come here on permanent basis. Some of them were arrested by the SLK navy in local territorial waters. Some have become victims of sexual predators in uniforms. In my opinion SLK must restore discipline, ordinances law and order first, without being unfair to those who are in this country as exiles.

    ceylon Tuesday, 03 October 2017 08:53 PM

    empty talks.why not punishing inhuman animals who broken law and insulted the country worldwide . via DM Android App

    ceylon Tuesday, 03 October 2017 09:32 PM

    all lankans are refugees in lanka without protection to live peacefully.allready two million lankans are refugees in foreign countries. via DM Android App


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