Norway to return asylum seekers - official

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 25 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
A Norwegian government official, currently in Jaffna on a visit, told the Uthayan, the only daily published in the peninsula, that granting asylum to Sri Lankan Tamils has been stopped in Norway.

The following is his statement which appeared in today's Uthayan.

"All (Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers) except those who have been granted permission for permanent residence will be sent back (to Sri Lanka). Although many have applied for asylum their applications have been rejected."

"Sri Lankan Tamils who arrived in Norway recently are staying in camps and in the houses of their relatives. Some of them are staying illegally without the permission of the Norwegian government. These persons are being arrested by the Norwegian Police and are being immediately sent back (to Sri Lanka)."

"The people of Norway think that the Sri Lankan Tamils are enthusiastic workers. Hence it was easy (for the Sri Lankan Tamils) to find jobs. But as the number of Sri Lankan refugees has increased now they have to face a difficulty in finding jobs."

The official is a member of a Norwegian fact finding mission which arrived in Jaffna on March 18 to assess primarily the condition of fisheries in the peninsula.

The other members of the team are Kamalasiri Nissanka and Dr. N. Shanmuharatnam. The team is expected to return to Colombo today.


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