The UK Home Office issued a new asylum country guidance report on ‘Tamil Separatism’ on Thursday, 28 August 2014, drawing on several reports detailing human rights violations by Sri Lanka against Tamil separatists and people that are perceived to be vulnerable.
This document provides guidance to Home Office decision makers on handling claims made by nationals/residents of as well as country of origin information (COI) about Sri Lanka. This includes whether claims are likely to justify the granting of asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave and whether in the event of a claim being refused it is likely to be certifiable as ‘clearly unfounded’ under s94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
The COI within this document has been compiled from a wide range of external information sources (usually) published in English. Consideration has been given to the relevance, reliability, accuracy, objectivity, currency, transparency and traceability of the information and wherever possible attempts have been made to corroborate the information used across independent sources, to ensure accuracy. All sources cited have been referenced in footnotes.
It has been researched and presented with reference to the Common EU [European Union] Guidelines for Processing Country of Origin Information (COI), dated April 2008, and the European Asylum Support Office’s research guidelines, Country of Origin Information report methodology, dated July 2012.
In its summary, the Home Office says that “being of Tamil ethnicity would not in itself warrant international protection”, even if the person proves “past membership or connection to the LTTE”. Neither would a person who evidences past membership or connection to the LTTE unless they have or are perceived to have a significant role in relation to post conflict Tamil separatism or appear on a ‘stop’ list at the airport.
However someone “perceived to be a threat to the State”, by having or perceived to be having a “significant role in relation to post-conflict Tamil separatism within the diaspora and/or a renewal of hostilities within Sri Lanka” are considered at risk and asylum will normally be appropriate.
The summary further held that participating in Diaspora activities such as attending protests “in itself is not considered evidence that a person is a committed Tamil activist seeking to promote Tamil separatism”, and that cases should be considered on the available evidence.
The presence of an LTTE inspired tattoo on a person is not in itself considered a risk, unless a person is likely to be detained and stripped during interrogation for ‘other reasons’.