UK to remove Sri Lanka from asylum "whitelist"
[TamilNet, Saturday, 09 December 2006, 11:36 GMT]
Asylum & Appeals Policy Directorate attached to the British Home Office, Friday said it would remove Sri Lanka from the list of countries
designated for non-suspensive appeals under Section 94 of the 2002 Nationality,
Immigration and Asylum Act, in the light of the deterioration in the situation in Sri Lanka.
However, the Home Office said that the situation in Sri Lanka is not such that UK should cease returns or grant leave to remain in the UK to Sri Lankans on the basis of the general situation, signaling asylumn cases would continue to be
considered on individual basis.
Andre Saunders of the Directorate, informing the move to the Asylum Processes Stakeholder Group (APSG), said that the escalation in violence in Sri Lanka has not affected all parts of the island to re-introduce a country-wide geographic designation and said the Home Office was examining whether it is appropriate to re-introduce in the near future a partial geographic designation for the purposes of non-suspensive appeals.
"Each asylum and human rights claim made by Sri Lankans will, as now, continue to be considered on its individual merits. This will include continuing to certify claims from Sri Lankans which are clearly unfounded on a case-by-case basis while ensuring that those individuals in genuine fear of persecution receive the protection they need," the letter said.
"Ministers have decided in the light of the deterioration in the situation in Sri Lanka, to
remove it from the list of designated countries. An Order giving effect to this decision being laid in Parliament on 12 December and will come into force on 13 December."
Britain closed the door on thousands of asylum seekers by adding Sri Lanka to its "whitelist" in 2003 following the Ceasefire Agreement and the peace negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.