UK Shadow Minister raises concerns over Sri Lanka’s torture of Tamils

Shadow Minister for International Trade, Gareth Thomas raises concerns over the Home Office’s Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) on Sri Lanka and its failure to recognised continued torture after 2015.

Drawing on the Freedom for Torture report, he highlights the cases of 33 people tortured between 2015 and 2018, verified by independent and specialist doctors. Individuals were targeted for real or perceived ties with the LTTE. This follows over 300 cases of torture by the state between 2009 and 2015.  The report goes on to state that “people of Tamil ethnicity were overwhelmingly the victims in all of these instances”.

The report highlights the failure of the Home Office’s CPIN to take into account evidence of torture post-2015 and instead relying on its fact-finding mission in October 2019. Freedom from Torture further maintains that the CPIN “fails to acknowledge the implications of the recent change in government for the advancement of human rights in the country, and, in particular, for Tamils”. Whilst published 6 months after the appointment of Gotabaya to the Presidency, it “does not contain a full picture of the current situation in the country”.

This report follows the deportation of over 30 Tail asylum seekers in Germany despite concerns over torture.

Responding to the Shadow Minister, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Kevin Foster, stated:

All asylum and human rights claims from Sri Lankan nationals are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations.

Each individual assessment is made against the background of the latest available country of origin information and any relevant case law.

The key case law for Sri Lanka is GJ & Others (post –civil war: returnees Sri Lanka CG [2013] UKUT 00319 (IAC) (5 July 2013) (heard on 5-8 and 11-12 February 2013, 15 March 2013 and 19 April 2013), and our CPIN is focused around this. This acknowledges there are factors to be considered when deciding a case.

We do not consider pieces of information in isolation. We review a range of evidence to ensure balance and a complete picture is considered.


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