A Sri Lankan asylum seeker has been ordered to be deportated next week, despite the United Nations committee against torture requesting Australia not move him while it investigates claims of possible tortured if he returns against his will.
According to the Guardian, the deportation order issued for Tamil asylum seeker Shantaruban by the Australian Border Force says he will be deported on February 22. He will not be permitted any visitors at the airport when he is removed and he will be escorted on his flight to Colombo. He has refused to sign the order.
In October last year the UN committee against torture issued an interim measure request, formally asking that Australia “refrain from returning [Shantaruban] to the Republic of Sri Lanka while his complaint is under consideration”.
A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs declined to comment on specific cases, but told the Guardian: “Australia does not remove people to their country of origin where it would be inconsistent with Australia’s protection obligations, including that of non-refoulement, in accordance with our international human rights law obligations.”
Shantaruban arrived in Australia by boat in 2012. Having been released to live in the community, he was redetained in 2015 and has remained in immigration detention since.
He fled Sri Lanka fearing repercussions from government security forces for his involvement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
According to the brief before the UN committee, Shantaruban was an active and senior member of the LTTE – more commonly known as the Tamil Tigers – in particular working as a boat-builder for its naval wing, the Sea Tigers.
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