As concern continues over their fate, Amnesty International says the Sri Lankan authorities must refrain from any ill-treatment of a group of rejected asylum seekers who arrived in Colombo at the end of last week after being forcibly returned from the UK.
The 26 Sri Lankans, most of them Tamil, were reportedly taken for questioning on their arrival in the capital. Human rights groups believe that some of the returnees are at risk of torture.
There are concerted attempts to find out what has happened to them, but inadequate information at present.
The deportations came even after a UK documentary, ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, exposed shocking new evidence of war crimes committed during the closing days of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009.
“The government of Sri Lanka have a history of arresting and detaining rejected Sri Lankan asylum seekers upon their return and we are aware of cases of people being tortured”, said Yolanda Foster, Amnesty’s Sri Lanka researcher.
“It is deeply alarming to hear that these people may already have been detained, minutes after stepping off the plane in Colombo. The Sri Lankan authorities must ensure that the rejected asylum seekers are not subjected to any form of ill-treatment or torture,“ she added.
Campaigners for asylum justice and human rights have condemned the UK government's "harsh" and "inhuman" repatriation of asylum seekers to countries with dangerously poor human rights records, influenced by pressure from anti-immigration lobbyists and tabloid newspapers