Lankan asylum seekers deported from UK

Sri Lankan map
Colombo, Sept 29: A group Sri Lankans, most of them Tamils, who failed in their bid to get asylum in the UK, have been deported back to the country, despite concerns raised by rights groups over their fate.

The group comprising over 50 asylum seekers, mostly Tamils and some from the Sinhala and Muslim communities, landed here today.

Officials at the Bandaranaike international airport said the special flight chartered by the UK Border Agency landed in Colombo around 10 am (local time) carrying over 50 of the asylum seekers.

The process of deportation went ahead despite rights groups like Freedom from Torture, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International expressing concern over the safety of the Tamils who were forced to return to Sri Lanka.

Rights groups had raised fears that the deportees might be subject to harassment and even disappearance upon return.

The UK Border Agency has said that the British High Commission here would be available for the returnees to seek assistance and to raise concerns if any.

The process to deport the asylum seekers came after the British Foreign Office in its assessment found that the humanitarian and security situation in the island has improved since the war with the LTTE ended in May 2009.

Sri Lankan authorities have accused the asylum seekers of misrepresenting and falsifying asylum applications to be able to continue to live abroad. This was the second such deportation of failed asylum seekers since June this year.


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