Condemning deportations of Eezham Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka by the UKBA, solidarity activists staged a demonstration near Heathrow, London today. The protest called for by an anti-deportation group ‘No Borders which saw the participation of mostly non-Tamil activists, also had participation of activists from Tamil Solidarity. Meanwhile, a London high court “ordered that the imminent deportation to Sri Lanka of a number of Tamils be halted amid claims they may be tortured on their return,” the Guardian reported on Tuesday. In a mail sent to TamilNet, UK based activists of the NSSP asked why the diaspora organizations involved in lobbying, especially the pro-Conservatives, have failed to challenge the deportation of Tamil asylum seekers who face obvious threat of persecution by the Sri Lankan state.
They further questioned whether the issue of deportations will be taken up with the seriousness it deserves at the proposed meeting with the parliamentarians in the first week of November.
They appealed to consider including in proposals a call to the governments in the west and Britain in particular not sending Tamils back to SL until there is an Independent Impartial Inquiry. “If we don’t get justice from the UK government that rules the country we live in and pay tax, how can we expect a tyrannical regime to deliver?” they ask.
“Three solicitors’ firms have confirmed to the Guardian that a number of their clients had been given last-minute reprieves and would no longer be flown out of the country on a specially chartered UK Border Agency (UKBA) flight that was expected to be leave on Tuesday afternoon. It is understood that a further 10 to 12 firms have also lodged last-minute appeals on behalf of their clients,” The Guardian mentioned in its report.
However, there is no clear mention of the number that is likely to be deported.
In a release after the protests, No Borders had claimed that “What we can say is that the campaign against death flights to Sri Lanka is building up a momentum, after three flights were partially stopped by a combination of direct and legal action. We haven’t won yet: the UKBA is still flying charters to the killing fields of Sri Lanka. But every plane is going mostly empty, costing them £150,000+ a time, and increasing amounts of bad publicity.”, further condemning the legitimacy to Sri Lanka given by the UK.
Speaking to TamilNet, Keerthikan, an activist with Tamil Solidarity questioned the credibility of the Tory government’s claim that they support Tamils, when they are sending back asylum seekers to insecurity in a brutal Sri Lankan state.