Sri Lanka Calls on Tamil Refugees in Australia to Return
Sri Lankan authorities are calling on Tamil Refugees in Australia to return home, saying there has been a ‘transformation of life in the north.’
Sri Lankan foreign minister, Gamini Lakshman Peiris, told Fairfax Media that ‘Sri Lanka is today a land at peace, it is a perfectly stable society.’
According to Peiris human traffickers are exploiting refugees heading for Australia. Critics however say that Sri Lankan authorities have not done enough to reconcile after the end of the 25-year-long civil war in 2009.
In 2012 a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council called on Sri Lanka to investigate alleged abuses committed during the final phase of the war against Tamil rebels. The U.N. has estimated that some 40,000 people were killed in the final months of the Sri Lankan civil war, while rights groups put the death toll even higher. Sri Lanka denies that its forces killed civilians.
According to Peiris the economy in the once war ravaged and devastated northern Tamil regions is now running at three-times the national average.
“The northern province is developing at about 22 percent, when the average population of the country is between 6 or 7 percent,” Peiris said.
Australia’s continues to be a preferred destination for Tamil Sri Lankan refugees. On 26 April this year, 88 Sri Lankan refugees were stopped while trying to migrate from the Indian coastal town of Mangalore on boat to Australia. According to the Indian national daily The Hindu, five persons were arrested for their alleged involvement in the trafficking.
In September 2012, Indian police prevented the smuggling on of 84 Tamils from the port city to Australia.