Deportation of asylum seekers by Sri Lanka a cause for concern: UNHCR

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Adrian Edwards, Spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. Photo: UNIFEED

Authorities in Sri Lanka continue to deport asylum seekers, despite international calls to stop sending people back to a place where their lives could be in danger, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

The agency says it's alarmed by the size and scope of deportations with 88 Pakistanis sent back home since 1 August.

UNHCR Spokesperson Adrian Edwards notes that initially, the deportees were men who had been placed into detention but now whole families are being deported.

"The first case happened on August 3 when a detained man was sent back to Pakistan, followed two days later by his wife and daughter who had picked up from their home. A family of six was sent back last Saturday, followed by another couple and two siblings yesterday. In all, there are now 11 women and eight children among the deported. Some of the latest deportees had their passports and asylum-seeker certificates seized last week. They were told to go to Colombo airport. They were placed on flights from there to Pakistan." (28")

UNHCR has reiterated its call on the Government of Sri Lanka to stop the deportations immediately.

It also urged the authorities to grant access to asylum seekers in detention so that UNHCR staff can assess their needs for international protection.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration: 1'31"

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