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Australia issues deportation order for Tamil asylum seeker despite torture fears
Published Date: 13/02/2018 (Tuesday)

By Ben Doherty

A Sri Lankan asylum seeker has been ordered for deportation next week, despite the United Nations committee against torture requesting Australia not move him while it investigates whether he will be tortured if he is returned against his will.

The deportation order issued for Tamil asylum seeker Shantaruban by the Australian Border Force says he will be deported on 22 February. He will not be permitted any visitors at the airport when he is removed and he will be escorted on his flight to Colombo.

He has refused to sign the order.

In October last year the UN committee against torture issued an interim measure request, formally asking that Australia “refrain from returning [Shantaruban] to the Republic of Sri Lanka while his complaint is under consideration”.

A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs declined to comment on specific cases, but told the Guardian: “Australia does not remove people to their country of origin where it would be inconsistent with Australia’s protection obligations, including that of non-refoulement, in accordance with our international human rights law obligations.”

 

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When Shantaruban sought to present evidence of his involvement with the LTTE, the evidence was ruled inadmissible because he had not declared it earlier.

Aran Mylvagnam from the Tamil Refugee Council said Shantaruban should be afforded the chance to re-apply for protection.

“We want the Australian government not to go ahead with this deportation, and to give Shantaruban another opportunity to have his case properly heard. So far the government has not been willing to review the new information.”

He said that, nine years after the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, persecution of Tamils continued. “In Shantaruban’s case, we believe it’s almost certain the authorities will pick him up and put him in detention and question him for his involvement with the Tigers. There’s a good chance he will face forced disappearance by the state.”

Mylvagnam also said Shantaruban’s mental health had deteriorated dramatically in detention and required a higher level of care than he was receiving.

Source: The Guardian

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