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Human Rights Watch Urges Sri Lanka Not To Deport Pakistani Christian Asylum Seekers


ISLAMABAD: A primary Human Rights Group calls on the Sri Lankan government to halt its moves to deport the Pakisani asylum seekers arrested in the country.


Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka in danger of deportation
Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka in danger of deportation

Human Rights Watch has urged the Sri Lankan Government to suspend moves to deport Pakistani asylum seekers arrested in the country. These Pakistani Assylum seekers include troubled Pakistani Christians and Muslims fleeing from Pakistan as result of growing persecution on religious bases.


Human Rights Watch said: at least 142 Pakistanis arrested in police raids in Sri Lanka in June 2014 are at risk of deportation. The Sri Lankan Controller General of Immigration and Emigration should not deport members of Pakistani minority groups until the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has had full access to them and determined their need for international protection. The majority of them are members of the Ahmadiyya minority, though the detainees also include Christians and Shia Muslims. UNHCR has not had access to the detainees, who are being held in Boosa detention centre.


Significantly, the UN refugee agency has previously acknowledged at least six of the group as refugees. Conversely, some of the media reports quoted the Immigration Controller Chulananda Perera as saying: the government was able to deport the detained Pakistanis because it had not given them permission to register asylum claims.


Bill Frelick-Director for refugees at Human Rights Watch said: Sri Lankan authorities are threatening Pakistani minority group members with deportation at the very time when persecution of these groups is escalating in Pakistan, preventing asylum seekers from lodging claims in no way absolves Sri Lanka from its duty not to return them to possible persecution.


However, under the principle of ‘non-refoulement’ in international law, governments are forbidden to force the refugees to return to the places where they would be at severe risk of persecution or other serious harm. Nonetheless, the Sri Lankan government has taken effective moves to deport these Pakistanis which are manifestly against the principle which may cause the deported asylum seekers some serious harm upon return.