Sri Lanka disputes refugee claims

Sri Lanka’s minister for external affairs GL Peiris says he can guarantee the safety of people returning to Sri Lanka after failed asylum seeker claims in countries such as Australia.

GL Peiris has told Australia Network’s Newsline he disputes the genuine nature of many asylum seeker claims made by people fleeing Sri Lanka.

"They have been returned by Australia because Australia was convinced that they are not in danger – Australia is not alone in that," he said.

"The actions taken by these governments independently is proof enough of the fact that conditions in Sri Lanka are stable and that there is no danger at all to these people."

Sri Lankans have continued to seek asylum in countries such as Britain and Australia after the country’s civil war ended in 2009.

Record numbers of Sri Lankan asylum seekers have arrived in Australian waters by boat in the past year but more than 1,200 applications for asylum have been rejected, sent back by immigration officials after just one interview.

Many of the applicants are Tamils who say they’ve been persecuted but the Sri Lankan government says the country has stabilised since civil war ended.

Mr Peiris says Sri Lanka is "entirely at peace" and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November will give the country a chance to "showcase" its achievements in this regard.

"There is no substitute for the evidence of their own eyes, a personal observation is the best thing … that is one of the chief advantages of the upcoming conference for us," he said.(ANN)

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