Govt urges review of UN procedures

refugee centre   An urgent review of UN procedures was necessary in the wake of the recent arrest and deportation of three LTTE cadres registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia, a senior security official said.

The official said that two of the LTTE cadres had received refugee status, while the third was in the process of securing the same. Responding to a query, the official said that the Sri Lankan government had never been consulted as regards the applications made by them, therefore an inquiry was necessary.

The Malaysian Counter Terrorism Division arrested them in separate raids in Petaling Jaya and Klang, Selangor on May 15. They were deported on May 25.

Asked whether the government was aware of the number of Sri Lankans who had been given refugee status through the intervention of the UNHCR during the conflict as well as the post-war period, the official said that there could be a substantial number of LTTE cadres among Sri Lankans living overseas under the protection of the UN.

Another official told ‘The Island’ that the UNHCR should at least now explain the circumstances under which those having refugee status courtesy the UN could be listed as missing/dead during the conflict. The UNHCR probe shouldn’t be restricted to Malaysia, he said, calling for urgent measures to prevent members of the LTTE as well as other unscrupulous elements from abusing the UN system.

Commenting on the Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticism of the Malaysian action, the official pointed out that the INGO should produce evidence, if it had any, to prove the innocence of the three deportees. The official emphasised that those registered with the UNHCR weren’t immune to prosecution if they had committed crimes.

Intelligence sources said that all three had entered Malaysia illegally and one of them even carried a work permit issued by a non-existent company.

According to records available in Colombo, the governments of Australia and the UK since the conclusion of the conflict had deported back to Sri Lanka over 1,000 bogus asylum seekers in spite of claims of persecution back home. Australia recently assured Sri Lanka that more bogus asylum seekers who have entered Australia through other countries during previous administrations would be deported.

Sources said that the chance arrest of one Kathiravel Thayapararajah by Indian authorities in May exposed a network that helped Sri Lankans to secure asylum abroad. Thayapararajah had been listed among the dead/missing since September 2009 and the military intelligence was accused of abducting him. (Defence.lk)

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