Through its Deportations Research program the Edmund Rice Centre has since 2002 conducted considerable research to determine what happens to the asylum seekers that Australia rejects. That research has to date seen the publication of two major reports.
Out of grave concern formed from revelations of the ongoing and systemic mistreatment of asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka, evidence collected by ERC is made available here in this Interim Research Update in the form of the following case note summaries.
Reports of the dangers faced by returned asylum seekers to Sri Lanka have largely been limited to those with a Tamil background. The Edmund Rice Centre can report that failed asylum seekers also of Sinhalese background have suffered cruel and degrading treatment on their return to Sri Lanka. Mistreatment is not restricted to those who are involuntarily returned.
In 2014, these allegations are borne out in a number cases of returned failed asylum-seekers in the entire period since the UN Committee Against Torture expressed concerns in 2011.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in Australia is well aware that those charged in Sri Lanka under S45C of the country's Immigrants and Emigrants Act may be held without bail for an indefinite period of time. This ERC Interim Research Update confirms that a practice of indefinite detention is being systematically conducted by Sri Lanka.
Download ERC Interim Research Update: Returnees to Sri Lanka August 2014