For Immediate Release: Tamil fears of persecution in Sri Lanka very real

The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) maintains that the threat of persecution of Tamils in Sri Lanka is very much a reality.

The UNHCR, while claiming that the situation in Sri Lanka is improving, still concedes that large numbers of Tamils still have grounds to fear persecution.

Sixteen months on, the Sri Lankan government is yet to fulfil three promises it had made to the UN Secretary-General in May 2009. Sri Lanka still holds thousands of Tamil civilians in military-run internment camps, it shows no intention of addressing the political grievances of the Tamil people and it has been absolutely defiant of any independent investigations of alleged war crimes.

With the Sri Lankan government recently changing its constitution to scrap the two-term presidential limit and allow the President to appoint judges, police, election commissioners, and central bank officials, Sri Lanka is sprinting away from democracy and towards autocracy.

The fear of persecution if returned to Sri Lanka is very real for Tamil asylum seekers in Australia.

The ATC maintains that a solution to the asylum seeker crisis can only be achieved by dealing with the root cause. ATC encourages Australia to join increase its pressure on Sri Lanka to uphold the rights of Tamils in the island.

Media contact:

Dr Sam Pari – 0433 428 967