7/21/2014

Is deporting Pakistan national refugees from Sri Lanka a diplomatically ethical move?



Sri Lanka Controller of Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera said that all overstaying foreign nationals including the Pakistan and Afghan nationals who had applied for refugee status would be deported.
Deporting overstaying foreigners is normal but how ethical is deporting who have sought refugee status from a third party while overstaying in Sri Lanka as a temporary measure. 

Last week, the government took steps to deport five Afghan nationals who had been overstaying in Sri Lanka, said the Controller of Immigration and Emigration. 

He further stated that there were 1450 Pakistan nationals and 40 Afghan nationals overstaying. They have applied for refugee status from the UNHCR office of Colombo and their applications are being processed.
They expect to migrate into another country after their application for political asylum is accepted. 

Sri Lanka police has already arrested some of these Pakistan and Afghan nationals. They are held in Boossa and Mirihana detention centers and interrogated to find any links with terrorism. 

Many of these Pakistan nationals belong to Ahmadiyya Muslim sect and they claim that they are under constant threat of the mainstream Sunni Muslims. Pakistan is a Sunni Muslim state that has prohibited practicing Ahmadiyya Islam. Ahmadiyya Muslims are constantly under threat of attack. 

Sri Lanka has not signed the international conventions regarding accepting refugees from other countries but it contributes to mass exodus of refugees from the home country bound developed nations. 

The refugees from Pakistan arrive here, obtain on arrival visa, apply for refugee status from UNHCR office of Colombo and overstay here for years sometime until the understaffed UNHRC office processes their applications and grant them visa to migrate to another country.  The practice of deporting them is very unethical. They can be economic migrants per se the claim of the Pakistan government. What if they are actually threatened people?

Sri Lanka government compelled to do so, I think, due to pressure from the Indian government. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said as he met the Sri Lankan President after his swearing in ceremony that the Muslim extremists who are in Sri Lanka are a threat to Indian security. 

Sri Lanka government says that Muslim extremists also arrive in Sri Lanka under the guise of threatened communities. 

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