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Hundreds deported after fleeing Sri Lanka to east coast of Africa

Hundreds of asylum seekers have fled Sri Lanka, across the Indian Ocean to the islands of La Réunion and Mayotte off the coast of Madagascar, only to be deported back to Colombo according to figures released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Since January 2018, at least 291 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka reached the African islands. Yet the vast majority have had their asylum applications turned down by the French territories, reports The New Humanitarian. It states that in February for instance, of 70 people who arrived on the island, only six were allowed to enter.

French NGO La Cimade said the swift rejections were an “unprecedented rights violations”.

“Some people were illegally sent back without being able to appeal, without having their asylum application examined, without having been able to consult a lawyer, or without being informed of their rights,” the group said in a statement.

See more from The New Humanitarian here.