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Accountability for crimes in Sri Lanka 

Refugee rights in protecting against torture in Sri Lanka 

Ahlone ports, Yangon Myanmar

Tamil women protesting enforced disappearances, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, © Eranga Jayawardena/AP Photo

Country information reporting on Sri Lanka has undermined the prevalence of Sri Lankan state sponsored torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and ongoing persecution of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) Country Information reports are used and relied on by immigration decision makers at primary and merits review proceedings when making decisions on applications by people seeking refugee protection.

 In December 2020, ACIJ and ITJP wrote a submission to DFAT’s Country Information team of concerns relating to the accuracy, methodology and validity of the conclusions reached in their latest 2019 report on Sri Lanka.

In May 2021 a landmark UK immigration case, known as a ‘country guidance case’ was published in which the UK Tribunal rejected and criticised Australian and UK country reports which are used as a basis to determine asylum applications for Tamils from Sri Lanka.

ACIJ and ITJP joined with the Tamil Refugee Council and other refugee rights legal centres in Australia to highlight the concerns of the DFAT report and the way in which these reports have been relied on detrimentally by a majority of decision makers including the Department of Home Affairs and merits review tribunals.

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