On 1 October 2020, the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) and the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) wrote to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of concerns relating to the accuracy, methodology and validity of the conclusions reached in DFAT’s Country Information Report Sri Lanka 4 November 2019.
The ITJP and ACIJ noted DFAT’s undermining of the prevalence of state-sponsored torture in Sri Lanka, abductions and unlawful detention. DFAT’s Country Information reports are important as they are required to be considered by decision makers at the Department of Home Affairs, the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA) and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) when assessing claims for refugee protection. Decision makers rarely depart from their findings.
Unreliable and inaccurate country information have severe consequences for many Sri Lankan applicants, particularly Tamil people seeking asylum, including the refusal of protection and risk of serious harm if returned to Sri Lanka.
On 27 May 2021, a UK court, the Upper Tribunal in a country guidance case issued a decision in KK & RS (Sri Lanka) which rejected and criticised DFAT’s country information report and a report from the UK Home Office. For more, see Doughty Street Chambers press release.
Image credit: ICRC.