22 October, 2020

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UK Immigration Court Rules On Sri Lanka Human Rights

By Frances Harrison –

Frances Harrison

The ruling in an important immigration case in Britain suggests that Sri Lanka’s human rights situation is far from improving, four years after the civil war ended.

Under new guidance issued by a British tribunal, a full investigation is now required if an asylum seeker is suspected by the government of Sri Lanka to have been a member of the Tamil Tiger rebel group. Several categories of people are now deemed to be at risk: Tamil diaspora activists, Tamil Tigers and their family members, journalists and human rights activists, those who’ve given war crimes evidence inside the country or are on a stop list at Colombo Airport resulting from an arrest warrant or court order. The UK ruling also concluded that anyone detained by the Sri Lankan security services faced “a real risk of ill-treatment or harm requiring international protection”.

“This decision sets a precedent for all courts in the UK, including the High Court, The Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, which are now required to follow this guidance” said immigration lawyer Arun Gananathan, “it’s also likely to influence asylum decisions in other countries and in the EU”.

The test case is being hailed as a victory by Tamil immigration lawyers, who’ve been fighting high profile deportation cases, involving asylum seekers who’d claimed torture or sexual abuse by the security forces before arriving in the UK. Among those who have been deported from the UK, fifteen are now known to have been tortured in Sri Lanka after their return.

The new guidelines for deciding Tamil asylum cases state that the risk for most returnees is not being apprehended at Colombo Airport but a few days later at their homes. The judgement in the case speaks of a computerised watch-list and a sophisticated intelligence operation to monitor Tamils inside the island and those who are politically active abroad. According to the UK Tribunal, the Sri Lankan intelligence agencies monitor activities online, on mobile phones, and among the diaspora in London, Paris, Oslo and Toronto. There are also informers throughout the north-east of Sri Lanka as well as in the diaspora as well as a government-sponsored image recognition project at Colombo University to identify people from photographs taken at demonstrations.

The latest tribunal judgement is also significant for what it concludes about the climax of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Based on the evidence presented to them, the judges said they could make some factual findings, such as that between 40,000 and 100,000 Tamil civilians died in in the final days of fighting in 2009. They also overwhelmingly rejected the Sri Lankan government’s assertion that it was conducting a humanitarian operation to rescue Tamils.

Commenting on the situation in Sri Lanka, the tribunal said the legal basis for the Sri Lankan government’s detention of 11,000 former Tamil Tiger fighters at the end of the war was unclear. Some detainees, it said, had been kept for as long as four years without any judicial supervision.

The ruling also described an ongoing Sinhalisation process to dilute Tamil strongholds and increased militarisation in the North of Sri Lanka, with Sinhala soldiers reportedly being offered large cash incentives to settle in Tamil areas and have a third child. The tribunal said the Sri Lankan army operated civilian businesses, hotels, restaurants, farms, shops and tourism and was now bigger in size than the British army. It described Tamil areas of the north-east as “in effect occupied territory, with one soldier for every five members of the population”.

In terms of current human rights abuses, the UK ruling said, “year on year, the number of such disappearances is increasing during the peace, rather than decreasing”.

This article first appeared in the Huffington Post

Related posts;

Full Text: UK Upper Tribunal’s Final Determination Of The Sri Lanka Country Guidance

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Dear Frances Harrison,

    “The ruling in an important immigration case in Britain suggests that Sri Lanka’s human rights situation is far from improving, four years after the civil war ended”

    1. What you are seeing is Sinhalese Buddhist Racism, the Curse of Sri Lanka.

    2. Look at the Buddhist monks running Amok in the Streets of the country.

    3. Buddhism is the curse of the country.

    4. Sinhala Buddhist Racism id Alive and Well.

    5. The Suulbury Commission from Great Britain is mostly responsible or not putting sufficient checks and balances before granting Independence.

    6. Therefore, Great Britain is culpable and responsible and must give asylum to those who are at risk.

    • 0
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      Amarasiri:
      You utter unmitigated nonsense when you say,”The Suulbury Commission from Great Britain is mostly responsible or not putting sufficient checks and balances before granting Independence.

      6. Therefore, Great Britain is culpable and responsible and must give asylum to those who are at risk.”

      First, the Constitution promulgated by Mrs. B in 1972 (?), “Colvin’s constitution,” and then JR’s abomination of the late seventies pulled all the clauses protecting minority rights contained in Soulbury’s effort.

      Can’t you get over your obsession with blaming other people for what we have done to ourselves?

      • 0
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        Aney Apochchi,

        “6. Therefore, Great Britain is culpable and responsible and must give asylum to those who are at risk.”

        First, the Constitution promulgated by Mrs. B in 1972 (?), “Colvin’s constitution,” and then JR’s abomination of the late seventies pulled all the clauses protecting minority rights contained in Soulbury’s effort.

        Can’t you get over your obsession with blaming other people for what we have done to ourselves?”

        1. Great Britain left a time bomb, so that the Sinhala Buddhist Terrorists can explode at their choosing. That was the Soulbury constitution. All it needed was 2/3 majority to change the timing and explode.

        Explode they did in 1972, with the courtesy of the “Egalitarian” LSSP and CP, giving in to the Sinhala Buddhist Racists.

        Explode they did, again in 1978, with the courtesy of the “Capitalist” UNP, giving in to the Sinhala Buddhist Racists, again.

        So, the Soulbury constitution, left the door closed, but NOT locked. So, the British are Equally at fault here. There is no need to white wash the irresponsible Imperialists, who have caused so much havoc in the world.

        “Can’t you get over your obsession with blaming other people for what we have done to ourselves?”

        I completely agree with you, but.. There is no debate here. When, the Sinhala Buddhists had riots in 1958 and 1983, we have to blame the Police and the State, not the law abiding Sinhala Buddhist citizen. If you leave a loaded gun with a crazy child, do you want to blame the child, when the child kills somebody with that gun, “The Soulbury Constitution”?

        However, the Soulbury constitution should have made it more difficult , like 4/5 majority or 7/8 majority to change certain provisions of the constitution.

        The 2/3 majority is arbitrary. It is the tyranny of the 2/3 against the 1/3, as it is happening in Sri Lanka Now.

    • 0
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      UK and Australia have racist and classist immigration and visa issue policies and charge huge amounts from poor people and those they consider likely to seek asylum. They are huge arms produces and exporters too to third world dictators like MR.
      Australia has spent billions on funding the SL navy which has stolen land grabbed form Tamils in the northeast to prevent displaced Tamils from seeking to apply for refugee status.

      The Australian Govt. under Julia Gillard was the absolute RACIST pits!

    • 0
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      Sorry, what you are seeing is the power of the die-hard Tiger tamil lobby in the UK.
      They don’t help the Tamils who live in Sri lanka. Most of us live in the south, without any problems. This British Tribunal has heard the views of the british Tamil Diaspora, and re-hashed it word for word. I would have written my two ruppees woth of honest facts if the tribunal bothered to come to Sri lanka to find out what is going on here.
      The tribunal NEVER set foot in Sri lanka to find the facts.

  • 0
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    Sri Lanka’s image is tarnished internationally. The government can keep blaming lobbies, media, and other nations for all that is being said and done against the country, and dismiss videos and investigations as either doctored or biased, but let’s not forget what the government does that has only itself to blame, it was not the media or lobbies, that refused to arrest the murderers who killed a British aid worker brutally, and raped his girlfriend. It has been 2 years and too many excuses. Do the Rajapaksa’s think that the lack of justice in this case will not go against them in the international arena? Journalists are threatened and fleeing for their lives, missing, or murdered. Lasantha’s murderers are still free because either the police are inept, or the criminals hide behind large behinds of the politicians. No one is ever held responsible for the continuous crimes in this country, racist monks are allowed to roam free and attack innocent people, and we are the the 9th most dangerous country in the world. It is what this government and leaders do that bring us shame, and we are steadfastly earning such a notorious reputation as a corrupt nation run by a bunch of criminals.

    We are giving the world good reasons to NOT trust us.

    • 0
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      Sri Lanka will very soon take the first place as the most dangerous country in the world!

    • 0
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      Dhaksha

      “We are giving the world good reasons to NOT trust us.”

      State to state relation is not based on trust but on “our perceived interests in your country”.

      Perception could be deceiving.

      Lack of justice, rampant corruption, and all other issues you mentioned above go unchecked not because of state and its rulers it is because the people are not well meaning angels.

  • 1
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    The UKBA have been totally wrong about Human Right abuses in SRI LANKA from day 1 their only interest is getting rid of as many asylum seekers as possible as quickly as possible regardless of the merits of their individual cases.

    • 0
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      John Tandy

      If what you say is true how come the Sinhala/Buddhist population in the UK has risen to 100,000 and Tamils to more than 300,000 according to media speculation?

  • 0
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    You mean to say that countries in the west do not have sophisticated means of tracking people who are connected with violence ?

    For 30 years large part of Northern and Eastern province was under politico-military leadership of the LTTE.

    Which by the way committed more suicide attacks than any Islamist group.

    This group killed :

    A president
    In office defence secretary
    Ministers
    Defense personnel
    Attacked and killed people in places of worship
    Set off bombs in Central Colombo
    Attacked and destroyed Air port in 2001 August

    And most of ALL held the country to ransom DEMANDING THAT Tamils be given a separate state in the Northern and Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, WHILST 54% of Tamils living among Sinhalese in other NON- (Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka)……

    SO you think that those that are concerned with National Security SHOULD ALLOW these things to happen AGAIN…..

    • 1
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      Ohh Dear. No one denies the horror game played by LTTE. But that is not an excuse at all for a legitimate (or at least self-claimed to be) to grossly violate human rights.

      What Britishers do not visualize is that at present the citizens of Sinhala community is suppressed more than other communities by the regime.

    • 1
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      Dear Sinhala Voice,

      1. Lanka was Vedda, Naga, Yakka and Raksha with Animist,Jain and Hindu beliefs. No Buddhism.

      2. Kalinga Immigrants came and then Buddhism and its accompanying Monk hegemony was introduced.

      3. Racist monk Mahanama introduced Myths, to spice up history, protect Monk Hegemony. The concept of Sinhala Buddhist Racism was introduced, claiming the Island to be Sinhala Buddhist, and not Vedda Animist or Hindu.

      4. Bali Indonesia, is 94% Hindu and peaceful. Lanka was Hindu,Animist and Jain and peaceful, until the introduction of Buddhism.

      5. There was a civilization in Lanka before Buddhism,just like the Greek and Roman civilizations before Christianity. The Lankan Hindu King Ravana, was the king of an evolved civilization, if Ramayana is True. King Ravana was more civilized than the Sinhala Buddhists and the Sinhala Buddhist Theravada Monks.

      6. Fast Forward 1948, 1950, 1956, 1958, 1971, 1972, 1977, 1983,1987, 1889, 2995, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008,and 2009. You see the cause, the Sinhala Buddhist Racism.

      The above reasons are how the Group have been formed, and supported by India, courtesy of Sinhala Buddhist Racism.

      Buddhism is the core problem in Sri Lanka,

      Then This group LTTE was formed, to address the Sihala Buddhist Racism,

      This group killed :
      “A president
      In office defence secretary
      Ministers
      Defense personnel
      Attacked and killed people in places of worship
      Set off bombs in Central Colombo
      Attacked and destroyed Air port in 2001 August”

    • 0
      0

      How you handle matters related to rebel group who are citizens of a democratic country is very different to democratic country Gov handling matters without law…
      Democratic country which is a member of UN, commonWealth, etc
      –) destroying libraries of minority
      –) killing unarmed men, women and children
      –) bla bla
      These are very different to actions of rebel groups using violence to resolve their greavances
      Anura

    • 0
      1

      sinhala_voice

      “Which by the way committed more suicide attacks than any Islamist group.”

      It is an interesting observation.

      Could we have comparative figures to support your claim.

  • 0
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    Frances Harrison,
    I think UK gov has got it wrong.
    In fact, all citizens of Sri Lanka, except the people with the name ‘Rajapaksa’ and their arse lickers are all at risk.

    • 0
      0

      When you guys wake up, you mean?

    • 0
      0

      Hureeeeee.

    • 0
      0

      A,

      “In fact, all citizens of Sri Lanka, except the people with the name ‘Rajapaksa’ and their arse lickers are all at risk.”

      Very good point. If everybody leaves Lanka, the country can be given back to the original inhabitants Veddah, and can the politicians and the Monks need to hunt and grow their own food. They can continue with the Monk-King Axis, courtesy of the Veddah.

      Sinhala Christians and Muslims should apply for asylum, based on the current data as well along with the Sinhala Buddhists by claiming the Buddhism practiced is Sri Lanka is Buddhist Terrorism, and do not want to expose their Children to Buddhist Terrorism, as they follow Mara-ism.

  • 0
    0

    What does the UK immigration court says about how British Destroyed Sri Lanka for almost five hundred years ?

    What does this court says say about what the British forces did in Afghanistan, Iraq etc ?

  • 0
    0

    What British Museums displaying are stolen items from Asia. Recently, Mr. Cameron had said, if all those stolen items are given back to Asian owners British museums would be empty.

    Why Frances Harrison don’t write articles about how her country’s role in slaughter of Asians and thefts of their wealth ?

    What Frances Harrison doing is still using Asians to earn her living.

  • 0
    0

    THIS IS THE YOUR OWN COUNTRY’S PRESENT RECORD OF HUMAN RIGHTS ?

    WHY DON’T YOU RIGHT ABOUT THOSE ?

    UK needs prompt action on human rights record, UN panel warns
    UN Committee Against Torture report recommends 40 separate measures to be taken before UK is given clean bill of health.

    “The UN panel raised serious concerns over matters including the failure to hold a public inquiry into the state’s involvement in the Belfast solicitor’s murder.”

    The British government’s human rights record since the attacks of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq is facing ferocious criticism from a United Nations panel, which warns that prompt action is needed to ensure the country meets its obligations under international law.

    In a report published on Friday, the UN Committee against Torture recommends more than 40 separate measures which it says will need to be taken if the UK is to be given a clean bill of health.

    While the committee has focused on the failure to hold to account those responsible for human rights abuses in the so-called war on terror, and for the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq, it also raises a series of other serious concerns over matters that include the controversial Justice and Security Act, the forced removal of failed asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, and the failure to hold a public inquiry into the state’s involvement in the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

    The report – which will doubtless make uncomfortable reading across Whitehall – contains the harshest criticism that the committee has yet made of a British government. It is the first substantial criticism since 1992, when the UK was told that were it not for the mistreatment of terrorism suspects in Northern Ireland, it would have been found to have “met in virtually every respect” its obligations under the UN convention against torture.

    Its publication follows a two-day hearing in Geneva earlier this month, during which some committee members angrily accused the British government delegation of providing evasive answers to their questions about the UK’s human rights record in recent years.

    While the committee’s report concentrates on human rights violations that predate the 2010 general election, it repeatedly expresses concern at the failure of the current government to take steps to hold those responsible to account.

    Addressing the government’s decision to suspend the judge-led inquiry into British involvement in torture and rendition since 9/11, the committee recommended that it “establish without further delay an inquiry on alleged acts of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held overseas committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of British officials”. The perpetrators identified by this inquiry should be “duly prosecuted and punished appropriately” and the victims compensated, the report says.

    Moreover, a report on the work that was conducted before the inquiry was suspended – and which was completed and delivered to prime minister David Cameron almost a year ago – should be published promptly.

    The committee condemned what it described as an “escape clause” in the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, the piece of legislation that incorporated the UN torture convention into UK law. It called for the repeal of the clause, as it provides British officials with a defence against prosecution for torture if they can show that they had “lawful authority, justification or excuse” for inflicting severe pain or suffering.

    During the hearings earlier this month, the committee’s members made clear that they were concerned that another piece of UK legislation, the 1994 Intelligence Services Act, may explain why no British intelligence officer has ever needed to rely on that defence, as it ensures they cannot be prosecuted within the UK once a warrant providing such “lawful authority” has been signed by a government minister.

    The report says the committee is “deeply concerned at the growing number of serious allegations of torture and ill-treatment, including by means of complicity, as a result of the state party’s military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan”.

    The failure to secure convictions at court martial following the murder of Baha Mousa in Basra in 2003, and the one-year sentence imposed on the one soldier who admitted a criminal charge of inhumane treatment, was a matter for “deep concern”, the committee said, as was the failure to prosecute anyone for the torture of other Iraqi prisoners.

    “The committee regrets that the state party continue to resist a full public inquiry that would assess the extent of torture and ill-treatment and establish possible command responsibility for senior political and military figures,” it said.

    The report recommends that British soldiers and intelligence officers receive training that will help them to understand that the use of torture is absolutely prohibited in international law.

    The committee also expressed concern that the secret court procedures introduced by the Justice and Security Act, which comes into force in July, could be used to deploy hearsay evidence or evidence obtained through torture.

    It also said the new secrecy regime should not be permitted to conceal evidence of human rights violations – something the new law’s critics believe to be its intention.

    The report urges the government to:

    • Rewrite its guidance to intelligence officers who are trying to obtain information from prisoners held by states with poor human rights records, as there is still a risk it could result in people being tortured.

    • Cease reliance on “unreliable and ineffective” diplomatic assurances when seeking to deport people to countries where they risk being tortured.

    • Consider halting the deportation of failed asylum seekers to Sri Lanka.

    • Move towards the abolition of non-jury trials in Northern Ireland.

    • Hold a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of Pat Finucane.

    • Ensure that police officers fire Taser weapons only when “there is a real and immediate threat to life or risk of serious injury”.

    The committee has given the British government 12 months in which to explain how it can make improvements in four key areas. These are the establishment of an inquiry into the UK’s involvement in torture overseas; ensuring Sri Lankan asylum seekers are not forcibly returned when they face mistreatment at home; securing the release from Guantánamo of the British resident Shaker Aamer; and establishing inquiries into human rights violations committed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

    Asked about the concerns raised by the committee, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, which led the British delegation to Geneva earlier this month, issued a statement saying the British government “does not engage in torture, or solicit, encourage or condone its use” and works to prevent torture occurring.

    The statement added that the government took seriously its responsibilities under the convention against torture: “The government is currently considering the recommendations made by the UN committee in its most recent report.”

  • 0
    0

    The Tamil community is deeply indebted to Frances Harrison for her sustained and unflagging labour in securing justice for the beleaguered and the persecuted. It also appreciates the signal victory of the team of immigration lawyers led by Arun Gananthan. The Court ruling is of historic significance on account of its likely effect in several advanced countries.

    The lamentable tragedy of the Tamils and their continuing plight was internationalized and brought into focus to tens of millions of homes by the great efforts of Callum Macrae, Director of Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields and the Presenter, Jon Snow. Homes apart, they brought it to several powerful political capitals and have helped change the awareness and consciousness of those who wield authority.

  • 0
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    Why these Tamils not running home to Tamil Nadu rather than suck on British tax payers who have enough third world scroungers?

    • 0
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      nilanthie

      “Why these Tamils not running home to Tamil Nadu rather than suck on British tax payers who have enough third world scroungers?”

      You see Tamils are like their Sinhala/Buddhist brethren. Sinhalese too don’t run back to their home either in Bihar or Tamilnadu.

      They too take too many risks, lie through their teeth and ar… finally get to the white man’s countries. It was white man’s burden to civilise your ancestors.

      Sinhala/Buddhists and Tamils suck on British tax payers who have enough third world scroungers.

      Even now it seems it is white man’s burden to look after Sinhala/Tamil scroungers. If you don’t like to be one of those scroungers please go back to your mother country India.

  • 0
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    Interesting to note that Frances Harrison employs the racist phase “Sinhalisation to dilute Tamil strongholds”, as if Sinhalese people have some sort of plague that’s going to destroy the healthy Tamil civilization of the north of Sri Lanka. I’m sure that if a British journalist employed the phrase “Tamilisation to dilute British strongholds in London” they wuld be rightly condemned as racist.

  • 0
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    It is entirely upto the British government to deal with asylem seekers that land on their shores, whether they are genuine or not seems a lesser consideration. Whilst the focus is on Sri Lanka in view of the pending CHOGM circus, the intent remains to discredit the island nation. Likes of Ms Harrison will do what is necessary in that regard, possibly rewarded by the diaspora. Yet, how she she fails to identify her own English kith and kin who went about murdering and mutilating thousands of Africans, Iraqis, Afghans is a reminder of insincerity. Ms Harrison should persue English war criminals and try to bring them before an International tribunal as a test of her unbiased reporting and concerns for human rights.

  • 0
    0

    Frances has been taking too much Tiger Balm.

    How could UK-based judges “make some factual findings, such as that between 40,000 and 100,000 Tamil civilians died in in the final days of fighting in 2009.” What are these factual finding?
    Frances doesn’t tell us.

    On what basis did the judges reject ‘the Sri Lankan government’s assertion that it was conducting a humanitarian operation to rescue Tamils.”? Frances doesn’t tell us.

    Frances’s Tiger Obsession is getting worse. She found the time to read through this long judgement, but when faced with IDAG Report, “The Numbers Game” which comprehensively demolished the “40,000” dead civilians claim, refused to read it saying she was too “busy now with other things”

    And what business is it of a foreign court (i.e. the UK court) to pronounce on the size of the Sri Lanka Army? Perhaps the judges should spend more time examining the recent combat record of the British Army, which has now lost two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • 0
    0

    Please let them keep all tiger activists in the United Kingdom, and allow the Sri Lankans to live in peace. We are very much happy without them. Further let the British Government face the consequences later in the day. In time to come we can hear bomb blasts murder and highway robbery in UK. Only at that stage they will realize the truth. Long live UK judges.

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