Amnesty International calls on Sri Lanka to halt Pakistani refugee returns

Amnesty International is urging Sri Lanka not to forcibly return asylum-seekers to their home countries, calling it a ‘violation of international law.’

Issuing a press release last Friday (14), Amnesty International said that individuals from Pakistani religious minority groups, particularly Christians and Ahmadiyas who sought sanctuary in Sri Lanka have been detained and could be deported by the authorities.

“Sri Lanka must halt plans to forcibly return these people and put their lives in harm’s way. They have been forced from their homes twice now, first in their own countries and now in the country where they sought safety and shelter. By sending them back to face the threats they first fled, the authorities would be violating international law,” Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International said.

According to Amnesty, more than 1,200 asylum seekers and refugees were displaced by the violence in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday massacre.

“Sri Lanka has for years welcomed people fleeing persecution in their own countries. It should build on this positive record, not reverse it. There has to be a fair process, and no one should be deported to face serious human rights violations, whatever their status of their asylum claims,” Patnaik added.

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