12 September 2014 – Expressing grave concern today about the resumption of arrests, detention and deportation of asylum-seekers and refugees in Sri Lanka, the United Nations refugee agency called on the Government to refrain from such actions and abide by its obligations under international law.
Sri Lanka has deported more than 80 Pakistani asylum seekers. Most of them are members of the persecuted Ahmadi community – a group that believes there was a prophet after the Prophet Muhammad, something sacrilegious to Muslims and illegal in Pakistan.
“Out in the living room, in this small, shared house in Geelong, Victoria, a shrine sits on the dining table. A wreath of white roses, chrysanthemums and daisies circles a framed photo of the 29-year-old Tamil asylum seeker, who set himself on fire on 31 May. A glass of milk and a glass of water sit – full to the brim – next to the flowers, left behind for Seemanpillai’s spirit to sip, according to a friend. He is the second Tamil asylum seeker to self-immolate in Australia over the past year – the first survived. Seemanpillai died on 1 June.”