A Sri Lankan fisherman who was deported back home from Australia
A Sri Lankan Catholic bishop has appealed to the Australian government to halt the deportation of Tamil asylum-seekers from the still war-ravaged north and east of the country, warning that returnees face intimidation and harassment by security forces, reports The Australian.
Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, made the appeal in an open letter in which he also claimed some returnees were being forced to turn informant, creating tension in their communities.
"It is common knowledge that those deported back after seeking political asylum abroad are left to live in fear and fright due to being considered traitors by the government and its armed forces," Mr Joseph wrote.
"They all are meted out with restrictions, threats, intimidation, questionings, surveillance and other forms of harassments and discrimination by the military, police and intelligence officers.
"It is my considered opinion that it is highly dangerous for the asylum-seekers from the north and east of Sri Lanka in Australia to be sent back to Sri Lanka in the prevailing political situation in our regions."
Catholic priests are also behind a push to release some 130 mostly Sinhalese failed or returned asylum-seekers who are being detained in prison, some for more than two years.
FULL STORY Sri Lankan bishop warns of harassment for repatriated Tamils (Australian)