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Delhi court halts deportation for fear of genocide

A magistrate court in India last week declined to deport a Tamil to Sri Lanka, as there was concern that he may become a victim of genocide if he was to return to the island.

Delhi Metropolitan Magistrate, Arul Varma ruled that,

“by deporting the convict herein, there is every apprehension that he will become a victim of genocide, and thus the State of India would have failed to live up to its commitment of preventing genocide under the convention.”

He also commented,

“How can the court become a party to the persecution of an individual? The court cannot retrograde itself to the position of a mute spectator... Handing over a refugee to Sri Lanka where he fears persecution will make us nothing short of abettors.”

In the landmark ruling, the judge then went on to recite verses from WH Auden’s poem “Refugee Blues”,

Say this city has a million souls,
Some live in mansions, some live in holes:
Yet there is no place for us,
My dear, there is no place for us,

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you will find it there:
We cannot go there now,
My dear, we cannot go there now.

The decision by the Indian court comes as the UK prepares to deport more than 100 Tamils to Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

See our earlier post: UK still “complicit” in torture of Tamils (Sep 2011)

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