Sri Lankans put at risk by UKBA breach of confidentiality

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The immigration Barrister who blogs as Free Movement has revealed a serious breach of confidentiality of Sri Lankan refugees scheduled for deportation.

Ahead of a planned mass expulsion of Sri Lankans from Britain, the UK Border Agency is allowing Sri Lankan officials to interrogate detainees in the UK about their asylum claims, and is passing confidential asylum court documents.

This comes admid ongoing concerns that the Sri Lankan government is trying to cover up war crimes and other atrocities committed during the war.

The UK government has scheduled a charter flight for a mass expulsion to Sri Lanka on June 16. Some media are claiming that 250-300 mostly Tamil refugees are due to be deported. Free Movement warns that “the fact that there is a removal en masse arguably itself gives rise to significant concern as to the treatment of the returnees on return, given that the nature of removal will attract attention to them and identify the returnees as failed asylum seekers.”

But it gets worse. The woman in question, known as ‘XT’, was interviewed in detention in the UK by an official from the Sri Lankan High Commission. She was unrepresented when this interview occurred and her representatives had no notification of the interview. During this interview, ostensibly to verify her identity and nationality, it was revealed that the Home Office had passed confidential court documents from XT’s asylum appeal, with reference to her family’s connections with the LTTE Tamil Tigers.

There are growing concerns over the safety of the Sri Lankans rounded up for this mass expulsion. Questions need to be asked: Why does the UKBA allow Sri Lankan government officials to interrogate detainees in the UK? What documents are being passed to them? Can the UK government guarantee the safety of Sri Lankans being deported?

Until these questions are answered, there should be no expulsion on 16 June or any other date.

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