A Sri Lankan asylum seeker has criticised Australia for sending him back from the Cocos Islands after he revealed his name and nationality he belonged to.
Around 12 asylum seekers were returned to Sri Lanka last week following their arrival in Australian waters, the World Socialist Web Site mentioned. There were nine men and one woman with one small child and one infant. One of the asylum seekers, Kumara, complained that the authorities started interrogating him as soon as he arrived at the Cocos Islands. They asked him his name as well as the place he came from. They also interrogated him about why he came to Australia.
Kumara also alleged Australia of ignoring his refugee claims. The case involving the man, his wife, and two children is being represented by Colombo’s human rights lawyer Lakshan Dias. The lawyer said that the group of refugees was checked and assessed on unfair refugee measures. “They were only asked their names, where they came from, and why they came,” Dias told The Guardian Australia. “No other questions. This man has a case for asylum that he wanted to present, but he was not given any opportunity.”
Dias added that Kumara felt he was being ignored by Australia authorities. “They were not given lawyers’ assistance even after they sought that assistance, their case was not heard and not given any opportunity to tell their story as well,” the lawyer stated. “They did everything in a secret manner, no transparency.”
The 12 of the refugees who arrived on May 2 in Australia were immediately imprisoned by the Australian Federal Police without proper evidence against them. On May 6, all of them were forced to enter a chartered plane to land in Sri Lanka. There they were handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Such refugees are sentenced to three years in jail for attempting to flee from their country without permission. Sri Lankan Immigration Department spokesperson Lakshma Zoysa said that an investigation is in progress to find out how they left their native land.
“They are involved in criminal activities, yeah, that’s an immigration crime,” the spokesman said in the report, referring to the contempt for basic rights shared by President Maithripala Sirisena’s government.