Following on from my previous post, the position appears to be even more disturbing. From other barristers practising in immigration and in particular other direct access barristers, I have been made aware of the Human Rights Watch Report of 15 September 2012 which echoes that of the Freedom from Torture report of 13 September 2012. This report also provides evidence of those who are being returned from the United Kingdom are, on occasion, being picked up and tortured in Sri Lanka.
Perhaps most worringly for me is that the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence website news article for 29 February 2012 refers to Freedom from Torture as a “proxy terror front group” – see Sri Lankan ministry of defence website report of 29 February 2012: http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20120229_04.”
The same website also states, erroneously:
“Britain has straight forward condemned and refuted the strongly-worded statements released by the US-based Human Rights Watch and the British-based Freedom from Torture.”
While I have no doubt that the United Kingdom government did not accept these reports in their entirety, they were certainly not “condemned.” well not as far as I am aware.
It seems clear or at the very least arguable that the Sri Lankan government is aware of the role of both Freedom from Torture and the HRW and therefore by extension of those people who are returned.
All of this in my view points to a very real risk of those being returned being harmed.
Paul Turner is a well respected direct access immigration barrister practising from 10 Kings Bench Walk London EC4Y 7EB and is licensed by the Bar Standards Board to provide direct access immigration advice to the public.