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HRW: UK should 'immediately suspend' deportations

In a statement released on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the UK government to "immediately suspend deportations of ethnic Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and review its policies in assessing these claims" and highlighted that the next scheduled deporation is due to take place on Thursday.

Noting the Sri Lankan security forces long-standing use of torture against those it deems to be linked the LTTE, HRW said there was a "growing evidence indicates that Tamils who have been politically active abroad are subject to torture and other ill-treatment". 

Citing the recent cases of four deportees who were subject to torture, HRW said their investigations indicate that "torturers interrogated deportees about their political activities abroad".

See here for full statement.

HRW's UK director, David Mepham, said,

"The British government’s asylum procedure is failing to identify Tamils at risk of torture upon return to Sri Lanka despite growing evidence that torture of Tamil activists deported from abroad occurs. Until the government can fairly and thoroughly assess asylum claims based on up-to-date human rights information on Sri Lanka, it should suspend returns."

The UK Border Agency guidance recognizes the danger of torture faced by those returned to Sri Lanka, and the government practice should reflect that,"

“This is not just a matter of the UK respecting its international legal obligations, but a matter of basic decency.”

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