Australia deems Sri Lanka safe for Tamils like the Murugappan family from Biloela. But is it? - ABC News
Jun 17, 2021 1 min, 29 secs

Other minorities in Sri Lanka, such as Muslims, also speak Tamil.

Trent Zimmerman, a government MP who has expressed support for the Murugappan family, said their case was "complicated by the fact" that Australia had already sent back some 1,500 families to Sri Lanka.

The UN, EU, US and human rights groups continue to express concern over the situation facing Tamils and other minorities in Sri Lanka.

The 47-member UN Human Rights Council in March this year boosted the resources and powers of the UN human rights chief to investigate war crimes and other human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

"The government response [to coronavirus] was led by the military and the lockdown was enforced more severely in Tamil-majority areas," Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, told the ABC.

Supplied: Human Rights Watch.

The European Parliament "deplores the continuing discrimination against and violence towards religious and ethnic minorities and communities in Sri Lanka, including Muslims, Hindus, Tamils and Christians", it continued.

Observers say the risks for returned Tamil asylum seekers are heightened.

A British court recently rejected the Australian and UK country reports as a basis to determine asylum applications for Sri Lankan Tamils

The immigration minister says he believes allowing a family of Tamil asylum seekers to resettle in Australia permanently would lead to more people trying to illegally get to the mainland by boat

But many are concerned about the risks Tamils face if forcibly returned to Sri Lanka

"Tamil asylum seekers in the past have faced ill-treatment after they were deported," Ms Ganguly of Human Rights Watch said

Ms Dale of RACS said there were concerns over people forcibly returned to Sri Lanka, as well as other countries Australia has deported asylum seekers to including Afghanistan and Pakistan


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