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UN Committee against Torture says Tamil man faces risk of torture if deported to Sri Lanka

The United Nations Committee against Torture has advised the Australian government not to deport a Tamil man to Sri Lanka, as he faces the risk of torture if sent back to the island.

An interim measure formally requesting Australia to stay the deportation order whilst his case was being heard was issued by the committee, over fears regarding his safety.

The asylum seeker – referred to by the Guardian as ‘Jyran’ – has aan arrest warrant in Sri Lanka for “assisting anti-government activities and supporting and assisting a terrorist organisation”.

His lawyer Alison Battisson told the committee that “it is highly likely that the outstanding arrest warrant will be exercised on his arrival in Sri Lanka,” and that he therefore faced “state-sanctioned torture”.

“Jyran will then be placed in custody,” she said. “As a Tamil accused of assisting the LTTE, it is then highly likely that Jyran will be subjected to a range of torture practices, including rape.”

Battison, who is also director of Human Rights for All said “by issuing this measure, the UN recognises that Sri Lanka is not safe for Tamils, despite Australia denying refugee status to many Tamils”.

“These interim measures are quite rare – this illustrates the very real concern the UN has over Australia’s practices of refouling Tamils to Sri Lanka,” she said. “Sri Lanka is not safe for many Tamils to return to.”

See more from the Guardian here.

Recent reports revealed that the use of torture remains a serious issue in Sri Lanka, an island that has a long history of security forces committing human rights violations. A recently published report by the Associated Press confirmed that in 2017, cases of torture were still being reported by Tamil asylum seekers fleeing the island.