Despite an increasing number of arrests by the Sri Lankan Navy, asylum seekers remain undeterred in their attempts to flee the island, reported AFP.
Tamil asylum seekers from Udappuwa who were recently arrested, told AFP,
"We will try to go again after the case is over. We just have to wait for some time."
“The future here is very bleak. We want to get out of poverty,"
Local community leader Quintus Fernando also stated that continued fishing restrictions by the navy had forced many residents to seek greener pastures elsewhere. he commented,
"It is three years after the end of the war, but fishermen are still required to get a 'pass' from the navy before setting out to sea. We can't just row out to fish."
Earlier this month, the Australian government announced that they will introduce offshore processing of refugee claims in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, a move criticised by NGOs (see here and here) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Whilst Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to Australia welcomed the move, Navy spokesperson Kosala Warnakulasuriya slipped to the Sunday Times,
“Opening up offshore detention centres in Papua New Guinea alone will not end the issue of human trafficking.”
“The refugees believe they will have better living conditions in Papua New Guinea than in their villages in the North and East and other parts of Sri Lanka.”
A parliamentarian from the Tamil National Alliance, M.A Sumanthiran, speaking to the Sunday Leader, outlined that the government was responsible for the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) calls to abolish the 13 Amendment.
The Sri Lankan government has expressed concern over a recent Memorandum of understanding, signed between the US Embassy in Colombo and the Trincomalee Urban Council, to establish an ‘American Corner’, a public information centre.
A Sri Lankan military soldier is suspected to have perpetrated the rape of a 7 year old girl in Nedunkeni, Vavuniya, reports Uthayan.
The incident led to a protest by local Tamils, demanding that the culprit be arrested.