World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN rights experts urge halt to Sri Lanka's deportations

UN rights experts urge halt to Sri Lanka's deportations of Pakistani asylum seekers

14 August 2014

United Nations human rights experts today expressed their grave concern over the detentions and forced deportations of Pakistani asylum seekers in Sri Lanka back to their homeland where violent attacks against religious minorities have spiked in recent years.

“States must guarantee that every single asylum claim is individually assessed with due process and in line with international law,” according to press release issued by UN Special Rapporteurs on minority issues, Rita Izsák, and on freedom of religion and belief, Heiner Bielefeldt.

They called on the Government of Sri Lanka to comply with the principle of non-refoulement (no-forced-returns) when there is a credible potential threat against an individual and to stop the deportations immediately in order to allow the completion of the entire asylum claim process.

At least 108 Pakistani citizens have been deported since the beginning of August, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“Most asylum seekers from Pakistan belong to religious minorities, including Ahmadiyya Muslim, Christian and Shia, groups that are often subjected to persecution, discrimination and violence in Pakistan,” Ms. Izsák said. “Many of them are being deported despite being registered with UNHCR and having their first instance interviews still pending.”

Violent attacks against religious minorities have increased significantly in recent years, according to Pakistani sources. Last year, 687 persons belonging to religious minorities were reportedly killed in over 200 separate attacks.

The expert on freedom of religion and belief, Mr. Bielefeldt said: “Such violence is fuelled by existing blasphemy legislation particularly targeting minorities and lack of protective measures for them in Pakistan.”

“The personal security and safety of Ahmadiyya Muslims, Christians and Shias who are being returned to Pakistan from Sri Lanka is a matter of serious concern, due to the large number of cases of violent attacks and threats against members of those religious communities by militant extremists in Pakistan,” he said.

According to UNHCR, returning an individual to a country where he or she would face a risk of torture is also prohibited under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The agency has also appealed to the Sri Lankan authorities to uphold their responsibilities under international law and ensure full respect for the rights of people in need of international protection.

The rapporteurs hope the Government of Sri Lanka will collaborate with the UN Refugees Agency in its work to guarantee the rights of asylum seekers, and avoid any actions that could lead to possible tragic consequences, according to the press release.

Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On How Obama’s Supreme Court Choice Says Everything (Bad) About His Presidency

Nothing has epitomised the presidency of Barack Obama quite like his Supreme Court nominees. Time and again, Republican presidents will blithely nominate right wing ideological extremists (Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas) who only sometimes misfire and turn out to be liberals in disguise (David Souter). Yet Obama has consistently skipped over the judicially qualified liberals and gone for a succession of centrists... More>>

ALSO:

Turkey: UN Secretary-General On The Terrorist Bombing In Ankara

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack in Ankara earlier today. According to the latest reports, the explosion in the Kizilay district killed and wounded dozens of people. More>>

ALSO:

Five Years On: Fukushima And New Zealand

Science Media Centre: It was the worst nuclear event since Chernobyl. In the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a crippled Japanese nuclear powerplant went into meltdown, and the world watched as emergency workers scrambled to shut down and contain the reactors. More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF: 1 In 3 Syrian Children Has Grown Up Knowing Only Crisis

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children - have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes more than 151,000 children born as refugees since 2011. More>>

ALSO:

Franklin Lamb: Syria’s Truce Bodes Well For Salvaging Our Cultural Heritage

The tentative cessation of hostilities in Syria, which came into effect on 2/28/2016, brokered by Washington and Moscow, is only in its second week... It is well documented that there have been daily incidents of artillery shelling, airstrikes and clashes. Yet, for the nearly 12 million displaced civilians, half of Syria’s population, it’s a much welcomed respite. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Rubio’s Last Stand (And Sleater-Kinney)

Well, it certainly was entertaining to watch Rubio succeed in getting under Donald Trump’s skin the other day, in the last debate before tomorrow’s Super Tuesday multi-state sweepstakes... The real killer for Rubio was that the most recent poll from Florida which shows him losing his home state to Trump by a huge margin in the primary due on March 15. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news