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16 June 2021

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Tamil Solidarity asylum victory

Sri Lanka: Political campaigning now grounds for asylum

Tamil Solidarity campaigning in 2017

Tamil Solidarity campaigning in 2017   (Click to enlarge)

Uthaya Senan, Committee for a Workers' International

In a recent landmark ruling, the Upper Tribunal - responsible for judicial reviews of Home Office decisions - has proposed new 'country guidance' used for determining asylum cases of refugees from Sri Lanka. The Home Office often uses outdated country guidance to reject refugee claims.

Among misguided claims from the old guidance was that only high-profile activists are in danger from deportation, and that the Sri Lankan government does not care about other political activists, and that they will be safe in Sri Lanka.

In the past, activists have pointed out that this guidance is based on interviews from Sri Lankan government supporters. This position has let many wrong court decisions be made, and resulted in the deportation of refugees to Sri Lanka.

This was challenged in a recent court case that involved Tamil Solidarity. The Upper Tribunal ruled in favour of our appeal - agreeing that organisations such as Tamil Solidarity are treated as hostile by the Sri Lankan government.

When Rogan Gunartna - a close ally of the Sri Lankan government, with close connections to Sri Lankan intelligent services - gave evidence, he confirmed that Sri Lanka's ban is politically motivated, and not based on any security threat.

Secret lists

It is confirmed that the Sri Lanka government sees Britain as a 'hub of Tamil separatism', maintains secretive 'ban' and 'watch' lists, targets key events in Britain, and monitors almost all the leading members of all Tamil organisations. Basic activities, such as taking part in demonstrations and raising money for an organisation, are considered 'terrorist' activities by the Sri Lankan government.

Gunartna revealed that the Sri Lankan government maintains databases of members of Tamil organisation, with the information provided through infiltration of these organisations and details obtained from British agencies. British government collaboration in vilifying Tamil political activists must be further exposed.

Refugees and asylum seekers are sometimes discouraged from political campaigning in Britain, under the threat that it could undermine their asylum claim. But this ruling has been achieved by campaigning. Political campaigning can help win the right to asylum.

The Tories and Labour pretend to champion human rights for Tamils only to secure votes among the Tamil population living in Britain. At the same time, they fully support government policy toward Sri Lanka, and do not question the continuation of British assistance to the regime.

Even this small victory by Tamil Solidarity is being challenged by the Home Office. But we are determined to continue the fight.

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In The Socialist 16 June 2021:

Trade unions and workplace

Left candidate needed for Unite general secretary election

Majority of BFAWU members vote to break from Labour

Right lose control in Unison NEC election

Sparks win victory!

Engineers in fourth week of strike action against huge fire-and-rehire attacks

Leicester University workers strike against redundancies

PCS conference 2021: Divide between union leaders and rank-and-file exposed

Socialist Party to the fore at Unison LG conference

Redbridge school walkout over victimised union rep


Underpaid and overworked - NHS workers say: 'Enough is enough'

Now is the time to fight for the NHS

Save Leicester General Hospital

International news

Will Biden's new foreign policy change the direction of US imperialism?

Tamil Solidarity asylum victory

Who represents the Palestinians?

International solidarity protests


Make vaccine technology public, nationalise big-pharma

Schools need resources to tackle 'routine' sexual harassment

Neonatal leave introduced: Unions must fight for extensions and full pay

Beth Roper inquest: Train company failures ignored

Birmingham Clean Air Zone a tax on the poor

Johnson's G7 hypocrisy

Pandemic homeless

Campaigns and party news

Enfield byelection: We need councillors prepared to resist

Queues at Socialist Party stall in Cov

National finance meeting

Readers' opinion

Women's health matters

Books that inspired me: The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists

Readers' comments


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Related links:


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Article dated 16 June 2021

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Sheffield Just Eat strikers step up action and hold mass rally: Over 100 trade unionists and students in Sheffield rallied in support of the Just Eat delivery drivers on their 31st day of targeted strike action against company pay cuts. Photo by Alistair Tice

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