July 26, 2012
Distraught family members of the Tamil asylum seeker known as “Mr X” who was deported to Sri Lanka on July 25 have not been able to locate their relative.
More than 14 hours after landing at Colombo airport, the Tamil man had not come out of the airport.
There are reports in the Sri Lankan media that the man has been detained by the Sri Lankan intelligence unit.
While Mr X’s family was waiting for him to emerge from the airport, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka arrived at the airport and sought the man’s release. Even the High Commissioner was unsuccessful.
Mr X’s claim for asylum had been rejected despite credible information that the man would face serious danger if he was returned to Sri Lanka.
Refugee Action Collective spokesperson Sue Bolton called on the Australian government to intervene and seek Mr X’s immediate release and return to Australia.
Bolton called into question Australia’s asylum assessment process which could reject the asylum claim of a person who was clearly faced danger in Sri Lanka.
“Refugee activists tried to prevent the deportation of Mr X.
“Mr X’s family, Tamil community members and refugee advocates warned that Mr X’s life was in danger if he was deported to Sri Lanka. How could someone like this have their claim for asylum rejected?”
There are many documented cases of Tamil asylum seekers being deported to Sri Lanka and then being arrested and interrogated.
“Immigration Minister Chris Bowen must intervene to have Mr X released and returned to Australia. The government was clearly in error when it rejected Mr X’s asylum bid.”