Sri Lanka: Deportation of Pakistanis temporarily halted
A court in Sri Lanka has ordered authorities to stop deporting Pakistani asylum seekers, following a complaint that they were being forcibly sent home without having their claims properly assessed. The Pakistani petitioner, Anila Imran, named the Controller of Immigration and Emigration, Minister of External Affairs, Defence Minister, Defence Secretary, Inspector General of Police, Human Rights Commissioner and Attorney General as respondents in her petition. The United Nations refugee agency (also known as UNHCR) says 88 Pakistanis have been deported since 1 August. UNHCR says it has been denied access to another 75 who are awaiting deportation.
“The president of the Appeals Court granted interim relief for two weeks to suspend the deportation of all asylum seekers,” said Lakshan Dias, lawyer of a 38-year-old Pakistani woman whose husband, brother and father are currently in detention. The woman brought the original complaint. The Sri Lankan government says the Pakistanis are part of an influx of economic immigrants in the past year who have become a burden on the country’s resources and potentially compromise state and regional security.