1,333 refugees, asylum seekers in the country: Minister
Posted on October 3rd, 2017

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

While claiming that the group of 35 Myanmar refugees would be sent to third country, the Government today revealed that a total of 1,333 asylum seekers and refugees were residing in the country under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Addressing the media at the weekly media briefing today at the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Head Quarters the Minister said according to an MoU signed between the UNHCR and the Government, the Myanmar refugees should be sent to a third country as soon as possible.

The Minister pointed out that Sri Lanka was not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and because of that and the country could not take any responsibility based on the convention.

But according to the international law countries should approach this kind issue with a humane aspect. India worked to provide temporary facilities for refugees. Though we did not sign the 1951 Refugee Convention we have worked to provide facilities for refugees since 2008,” The Minister said.

He said the refugees who came to Sri Lanka in 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014 had been sent to third countries such as the US and Canada for permanent residence through the intervention of the UNHCR.

Those countries expressed willingness to grant residency to refugee as part of the UNHCR Convention,” he said.

The Myanmar refugees, who recently came to the country, were from a camp in South India but not from Myanmar. The boat was captured by the Sri Lankan Navy after they entered to the Sri Lankan waters. Later the refugees were handed over to the UNHCR as usual since 2008.

After handing over the refugees to the UNHCR the Sri Lankan Government is not in a bond to provide facilities for them. All infrastructure facilities should be provided by the UNHCR.

There are 728 refugees in the country as at August 31 this year- such as 113 from Afghanistan, 7 from Iran, 8 from Maldives, 35 from Myanmar, 533 from Pakistan, 10 from Palestine, 1 from Somalia, 14 from Syria, 1 from Tunisia and 6 from Yemen.

The UNHCR had taken the responsibly to send these people to a third country.

If the people in society know the true story behind the refugee situation in the country they would not have acted like extremists,” Minister Samarasinghe said. (Chaturanga Pradeep)


2 Responses to “1,333 refugees, asylum seekers in the country: Minister”

  1. SA Kumar Says:

    1,333 refugees, asylum seekers in the country- So We-Tamil 3M Kalathonis is not refugees ???

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    Maldives only 8 persons ?
    No Refugees/illegal migrants from neighbor INDIA, esp Tamil Nadu … ? Curious.

    1,333 Refugees in Sri Lanka.
    As at 31 Aug 2017, there are 728 persons categorised as Refugees in Sri Lanka.
    605 persons gone missing here … into what category ?

    Right now, the Northern areas of Sri Lanka has a drought. We are told that when there was a drought in Tamil Nadu in the 1960s, Tamil people poured into Lanka. But with the Northern area drought now on, no Tamil folk leave Lanka to go back to Tamil Nadu. Why ?

    Also, many thousands of Tamil illegal migrants came to Lanka during the LTTE rule of the N&E. Where are these people now ?

    We were also told that there were some 60,000 Lanka Tamil people in the Tamil Nadu camps, that these people fled to TN after the 1983 trumped up Riots. The late Jayalalitha wanted the INDIAN GOVT to give INDIAN citizenship to these people. This was never done. We wonder why ?
    It’s not too late to do so, even now.

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