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Don’t deport Tamil refugees to SL - HRW

6 April 2013 06:53 am - 34     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities to refrain from deporting 19 Tamil refugees to Sri Lanka as they would be at serious risk of torture and persecution upon return.

According to the HRW, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has recognized all 19 as refugees, but the UAE authorities have told the group they must leave the country by April 11, 2013.

Following is the statement issued by the HRW today with concern to their request to the UAE authorities:
“For the UAE to return recognized Tamil refugees to a grave risk of torture in Sri Lanka would signal a total disregard for their well-being – and the most basic principle of international refugee and human rights law,” said Bill Frelick, refugee program director at Human Rights Watch. “Sri Lanka’s treatment of Tamils they deem politically suspect is dismal and under no circumstances should the UAE deport this group there.”

The 19, including six women, were part of a group of 46 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers who fled Sri Lanka in October 2012, trying to reach Australia by boat. After their boat ran into trouble, they were rescued by a Singaporean ship on October 14. The 46 were taken to the port of Jebel Ali, south of Dubai, in the UAE. A 66-year-old woman and a 4-year-old girl are among the six female refugees. Three members of the group of 19 allege that Sri Lankan authorities tortured them in 2011.

In November, UNHCR recognized 39 of the 46 as refugees. Although UNHCR has been seeking third-country resettlement on their behalf, it has not yet been able to secure resettlement offers for 19 of them. These are the refugees who are under threat of deportation, according to Sri Lankan sources, who told Human Rights Watch that UAE police have informed the refugees that they must go back to Sri Lanka. Some were told they had to leave by April 11.

The UAE has not ratified the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The UAE is nevertheless bound by customary international law not to return them to persecution or other ill-treatment, Human Rights Watch said. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the UAE ratified in July 2012, prohibits returning an individual to a country “where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”

The Human Rights Watch documented detailed accounts of 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse from 2006 to 2012 in both official and secret detention centers throughout Sri Lanka. In the cases documented by Human Rights Watch, men and women reported being raped on multiple occasions, often by several people, with the army, police, and pro-government paramilitary groups frequently participating. Victims also described being beaten, hung by their arms, partially asphyxiated, and burned with cigarettes, among other forms of abuse. None of those who spoke to Human Rights Watch had access to legal counsel, family members, or doctors while they were detained. Most said that they signed a confession in the hope that the abuse would stop, though the torture, including rape, often continued.

Previous investigations by Human Rights Watch have found that some rejected Tamil asylum seekers from the United Kingdom and other countries have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and torture or other ill-treatment upon their arrival in Sri Lanka.

“The principle of ‘non-return,’ which bars the forced return of refugees, is the cornerstone of worldwide refugee protection,” Frelick said. “If the UAE forcibly returns these refugees, it not only will put their lives at risk, but erode the foundation of protection for refugees everywhere.” (Source: www.hrw.org)
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  Comments - 34

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  • thas Saturday, 06 April 2013 09:01 AM

    u also from same country

    Rata Haraka Saturday, 06 April 2013 09:04 AM

    Bloody rubbish. All this is just an excuse to claim refugee status abroad. Send them back to their homeland, the independent Tamil state, Tamil Nadu.

    AjithK Sunday, 07 April 2013 11:42 AM

    Scoundrels.....???they are fleeing for life.....But I am sure, u wont hv the gut to call scoundrels for anyone having a green card, and living in Sri Lanka...We have a huge brain drain in SL. There are quite a number of intellectuals from all the communities who have left sri lanka, and if u get the chance i am sure u too would... Please dont play to the gallery like our politicians....

    AjithK Sunday, 07 April 2013 11:46 AM

    They are the pawns in middle, getting caught to both side of terrorism....

    AjithK Sunday, 07 April 2013 11:47 AM

    A sensible Comment.......

    Yasothan Saturday, 06 April 2013 09:06 AM

    dear indians warm welcome all refugees, irrespective of race and culture....... pls. send them to india they will safe

    sum Saturday, 06 April 2013 09:19 AM

    where were they (HRW)when the LTTE terrorize the country

    pk Saturday, 06 April 2013 09:24 AM

    HRW should be realistic when they commect otherwise that becomes a joke. Guys you are welcome to Sri Lanka and also a part of us. No matter why you left still belongs to SL family.

    Gajan Saturday, 06 April 2013 12:00 AM

    Why dont SL gov. issue a statement that not to torture them? via DM Android App

    Jan Saturday, 06 April 2013 09:52 AM

    What does HRW has got to state about the beheadings of the arab world?

    human Saturday, 06 April 2013 12:00 AM

    i inform you British military humiliate and tortured me also in iraq,

    LTTEHRW Saturday, 06 April 2013 09:55 AM

    It is obvious that HRW is just another mouth peace of LTTE threatening to the peace in sri lanka.

    Suq Madique Saturday, 06 April 2013 02:20 PM

    But we don't want these scoundrels back. If HRW cares so much about them they can keep them.

    Suq Madique Saturday, 06 April 2013 02:21 PM

    Yes, but we have our own country now.

    god help Saturday, 06 April 2013 07:11 AM

    what does the government reps has to say for this, sri lanka , paradise, only god can save us

    Suq Madique Saturday, 06 April 2013 02:22 PM

    Does HRW think the UAE gives a damn what they think?

    Mangala Saturday, 06 April 2013 10:12 AM

    HRW is fabricating stories to tarnish SL image and to show cause for the economic refugees.

    unchikun Saturday, 06 April 2013 02:30 PM

    To be precious, South India.

    Gamaya Saturday, 06 April 2013 07:28 AM

    send them back to their origin in location TN

    Huna Saturday, 06 April 2013 07:33 AM

    UAE government will not bother about any HRW statements

    Ravanan power Saturday, 06 April 2013 12:00 AM

    oh yeah send them to TN.At the same time send sinhala people to their's origin country Oriza. via DM Android App

    Saskia Saturday, 06 April 2013 10:52 AM

    You welcomes them but your politician and government do not want them. Your government policy's is to reduce as much as tamil population in SL.

    mililindra Saturday, 06 April 2013 12:00 AM

    please send to TN. via DM Android App

    monster Saturday, 06 April 2013 12:00 AM

    UAE does not listen to them. HRW has lost its reputation! why not send em to TN where terrorists belong to... via DM Android App

    Karu Saturday, 06 April 2013 07:58 AM

    Bad name for the country........decision came after Mervin statement

    JD Saturday, 06 April 2013 10:59 AM

    Well said PK. Finally I see a true Srilankan.

    Labby Saturday, 06 April 2013 07:58 AM

    And what is the response of our Minister of External Affairs on this matter ?

    Dalubanda Saturday, 06 April 2013 08:28 AM

    Deport them to UK

    DeSelva Saturday, 06 April 2013 08:34 AM

    Sinhalease also orginated from India

    raja Saturday, 06 April 2013 08:34 AM

    All Sinhalese are aryans indians....

    Ami Saturday, 06 April 2013 12:00 AM

    A foul attempt to seek greener pastures with a human rights twist now! It is amazing how culpable certain international human rights entities have become. via DM Android App


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