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TAG expresses disappointment at Country Guidance exclusion of torture data

 

Speaking on the recently released Country Guidance ruling on Sri Lanak, Tamils Against Genocide’s (TAG) Advocacy Manager, Hettie Briscoe said,

“Broadly we welcome this determination which marks a sea change from previous guidance. 

In it the Tribunal recognizes that the Sri Lankan state is extremely repressive and that-those who actively speak out against this repressive state, who call for accountability for war crimes and genocide, or who believe the ethnic conflict can be solved by the creation of an independent Tamil state are at risk of persecution including torture.

We are however disappointed that our extensive data on torture of returnees from the UK to Sri Lanka has been excluded from consideration on legal technicalities.

The British government has already been criticized at the UN for failing to disclose and analyse all the evidence of torture in its possession. We are seeking advice on appealing the exclusion of facts established in lower court determinations and on alternative legal remedies to the governments failure to analyse and disclose all the data in its possession”

We take this opportunity to thank expert witnesses who testified orally on behalf of TAG - No Fire Zone Director Callum Macrae, Dr David Rampton of the LSE and Dr Suthaharan Nadarajah from SOAS.  The Tribunal noted their contributions. “We are indebted to TAG for making available additional experts, evidence and argument which would not otherwise have been before us” (Para 12).

Contrary to what is stated in the Determination at Para 99, TAG’s witnesses were not paid, but acted on a pro bono basis. We will be seeking a correction of this in the determination.  

We are indebted to our indefatigable counsel, Shivani Jegarajah and Colin Yeo of Renaissance Chambers, solicitor Raja Uruthiravinyagan of Duncan Lewis and to the committed and able legal team that appeared for the three appellants, for their contributions Alistair McKenzie and Alison Pickup of Doughty Street, Rudolph Spurling and Sara Anzani of 10 Kings Bench Walk and last but not least Iain Palmer of Renaissance and their respective instructing solicitors.

We acknowledge again, though they choose to remain unnamed, our great debt to all those who contributed to the TAG reports that were in evidence before the Tribunal.

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