Tamils to be sent to Sri Lanka despite torture threat
AUSTRALIA is preparing to return more than 200 Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, despite alleging the country is responsible for government-sponsored torture, abuse and mistreatment by police and security forces.
The Tamils, whose boat was intercepted by a customs vessel last week, will be transferred to the custody of a Sri Lankan naval ship at sea in coming days.
They will be returned to Sri Lanka, the country they originally fled, raising concerns Australia will breach its non-refoulement obligations under international law by sending people back to a place where they face threat of persecution.
At the most recent assessment of Sri Lanka at the United Nation's Universal Periodic Review - during which all UN countries have their human rights records assessed by fellow member states - Australia accused the Sri Lankan government of complicity in human rights abuses.
Australia recommended Sri Lanka should: "Take action to reduce and eliminate all cases of abductions and disappearances; take action to reduce and eliminate all cases of abuse, torture or mistreatment by police and security forces; and take action to facilitate greater participation by citizens and civil society in helping to implement human rights action plans."