Australia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Sri Lanka on the Return and Readmission of Persons which includes provisions for the return of asylum seekers who continue to face threats of torture and abuse in Sri Lanka.
Rawan Arraf, lawyer and director at the Australian Centre for International Justice, described the move as “shameful” on Twitter. She further stated:
Shameful. Australia signs MOU to return persons to #SriLanka who have sought asylum in #Australia, escaping the horrors that many in this new Sri Lankan government are responsible for and who continue to enjoy impunity for international crimes. https://t.co/SkUgpX2Nyr
— Rawan Arraf (@rawanarraf) January 19, 2021
In February 2019 Freedom From Torture reported that Sri Lanka was - for the seventh successive year – “the top country of origin for torture survivors referred… for clinical services and medico-legal reports”.
Australia's immigration system
Approximately 4,500 Sri Lankan asylum seekers came to Australia between 2009 and 2013. A further 2,000 people have died over the past two decades trying to reach the country.
The dire conditions in Australia’s detention centres have left asylum-seekers 200 times more likely to self-harm than the average Australian. Since 2000, at least 12 individuals hoping to migrate to Australia were suspected to have died by suicide while in detention.
Read more here.