The United Nations’ refugee agency spoke out against the deportation of a Tamil asylum seeker to Sri Lanka, stating it was a worrying breach of the Australian government’s international legal obligations and presented “a serious risk of return to danger”.
UNHCR spokesperson Catherine Stubberfield said that “since July 2012, people who sought asylum by sea were excluded from lodging an application in Australia for up to four years”.
“While they were all invited to apply by October 2016, some asylum seekers have been unable to complete this process within the time frame for a range of valid reasons, including a lack of access to legal representation,” she added.
“This was the case for the asylum seeker forcibly returned to Sri Lanka this week.”
“In this context, the return of an asylum-seeker - whose claim for international protection was not considered on its merits - presents a serious risk of return to danger or persecution.”
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