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'Australia's practice of returning Sri Lankans is reckless'

Writing in the Guardian's 'Comment is free' section, Emily Howie - a lawyer with the Human Rights Law Centre and a leebron fellow at Columbia university - said the new 'enhanced screening' is jeopardising Sri Lankan asylum claims, and described Australia's deportation of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka as "reckless".

See here for full opinion. Extract published below:

"Australia's practice of returning Sri Lankans is reckless. Not only does the country turn a blind eye to the harm that the they may face on return, it does so on the basis of a diminished understanding of individuals' claims for asylum and without adequate monitoring back in Sri Lanka."

"Aside from the opacity of the process, there are obvious barriers to returnees making complaints to the High Commission. Returnees may lack trust in it given that it is run by the very government that deported them, collaborating with Sri Lankan authorities to do so. Further, visiting Australia's High Commission in Colombo is likely to generate legitimate fears about monitoring and reprisal for being seen to make complaints."

"Australia has clear domestic and international human rights law obligations not to return people in our custody to a place where they are at risk of persecution, torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. But rather than responding with caution to the mounting evidence of risk to Sri Lankan returnees, Australia's practices are wilfully blind to the dangers they face. We owe more to the people in our custody and care, both as a matter of law and of conscience."

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