United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities should not deport 19 Tamil refugees to Sri Lankabecause they would be at serious risk of torture and persecution upon return. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has recognized all 19 as refugees, but the UAE authorities have told the group they must leave the country by April 11, 2013., said the New York based Human Right Watch.
“For the UAE to return recognized Tamil refugees to a grave risk of torture in Sri Lanka would signal a total disregard for their well-being – and the most basic principle of international refugee and human rights law,” said Bill Frelick, refugee program director at Human Rights Watch. “Sri Lanka’s treatment of Tamils they deem politically suspect is dismal and under no circumstances should the UAE deport this group there.”
The 19, including six women, were part of a group of 46 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers who fled Sri Lanka in October 2012, trying to reach Australia by boat. After their boat ran into trouble, they were rescued by a Singaporean ship on October 14. The 46 were taken to the port of Jebel Ali, south of Dubai, in the UAE.