191 refugees, asylum seekers to be deported
June 23, 2012
The Immigration and Emigration Department yesterday confirmed that 191 refugees and asylum seekers in the country were given letters of deportation based on intelligence reports that they were involved in illegal” activities.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said this matter would be taken up at the bi-weekly news briefing at the UN in Geneva.

The Immigration and Emigration Department said the UNHRC had not sent the necessary details about the refugees and that many of them had arrived in the country on tourist visas.

The Department Chief Chulananda Perera said under accepted international norms a person had to apply for asylum and not arrive in the country first as a tourist and then apply for asylum.

He said the passport numbers and the address had to be given by the UNHRC under a working agreement between the country and the UNHCR.

“Apart from this there is no statement about the time they will be residing in the country,” he said.

The UNHRC said if Sri Lanka deported 191 of its registered refugees and asylum seekers it would be a serious breach of international human rights norms and principles and would reflect negatively on its overall human rights profile.

The UNHRC had previously said that 191 of its 330 refugees and asylum seekers registered with the Commission had been receiving letters from the Department of Immigration and Emigration asking them to leave the country within 14 days or face deportation. The letters had stated “overstay of visa” as the reason for deportation.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka