Freedom from Torture (FfT),a medical foundation for the care of victims of torture, in a report released this week, pointed to the evidence of more than 20 Sri Lankan Tamils who experienced torture after returning voluntarily to Sri Lanka in the post-conflict period, and said that the Organization "considers that the UK’s removal policy for Sri Lanka is based on a flawed assessment of risk." Asserting that the examined cases "reveal that Sri Lankan Tamils who in the past had an actual or perceived association at any level with the LTTE but were able to leave Sri Lanka safely now face risk of torture on return," the FfT added that there "should be a pause in forcible removals of Tamils to Sri Lanka" while the UK Border Agency’s policy on removals to Sri Lanka is changed to properly reflect the evidence presented in FfT’s report.
The report adds, "[o]ur evidence demonstrated that torture continues to be perpetrated in Sri Lanka following the conflict and that those at particular risk include Tamils with an actual or perceived association with the LTTE, including those returning from abroad.
"In its concluding observations, the UN Committee against Torture emphasised its concerns about ‘the continued and consistent allegations of widespread use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of suspects in police custody’ and ‘reports that suggest that torture and ill-treatment perpetrated by State actors, both the military and the police, have continued in many parts of the country after the conflict ended in May 2009 and is still occurring in 2011," the Freedom from Torture said in its report.
The new evidence presented in the report included 6 cases of forensically documented Medico-Legal Report (MLR)s originally submitted to th U.N. Committee Against Torture, 6 additional cases of documented after the UN submission, and 12 cases referred to the Organization by the health care professionals in the National Health Service or the voluntary sector, the report said.
Human Rights Watch has documented 13 credible cases over the past two years in which failed Tamil asylum-seekers from Europe have been tortured after landing in Sri Lanka, and warned that those cases are likely to be "just the tip of the iceberg.
The imminent threat of torture of returning refugees of Eezham Tamil origin is increasingly being accepted in the Courts in the West, observers said. In a recent extradition case in Melbourne Federal Court, the Judge ruled that the Australian Attorney General failed to ascertain that a Tamil detainee accused by the US of assisting Liberation Tigers will not face torture in Sri Lanka. The man, Thulasitharan Santhirarajah, was released from remand jail.