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More questions in Sri Lankan case


More questions in Sri Lankan case

National Party MP Judith Collins is raising more questions over the assurances given by the Government about the care and protection of a Sri Lankan girl deported less than two weeks ago.

Associate Immigration Minister Damien O'Connor claimed a proper care and protection plan was in place in Sri Lanka, and the New Zealand Government would "monitor" its implementation.

"But only now has a doctor seen this girl and only after intervention by her New Zealand-based lawyer," Ms Collins reports.

"It has also emerged that just eight days before the girl was deported, the Catholic Church was contacted by an immigration official asking if it knew whether any Catholic agency in Sri Lanka might be a suitable and safe haven for her.

"Catholic Communications spokeswoman, Lyndsay Freer is on the record saying she was surprised 'that the Government, which had been giving assurances of the girl's safety and care, had not, in fact, made any such arrangements through its own networks'.

In this month's NZ Catholic newspaper, Mrs Freer says 'she contacted an order of sisters in Colombo, which agreed to offer care and accommodation if that was what the girl wished'.

The day before the girl was deported, the official phoned Mrs Freer again to say that the Government had made contact with the order, but was just checking if the sisters had the necessary resources.

'I told him that I was amazed that they had not finalised arrangements in the event of a decision being made to deport her. It makes something of a mockery of Damien O'Connor's words about the care and protection plan they had put in place,' Mrs Freer is quoted as saying.

"Whether or not you agree with the decision to deport this child, it is clear that Government Ministers have not been completely up front on this issue.

"Nothing less than a full judicial inquiry is required," says Ms Collins.

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