Returnees not harassed

The government has insisted that failed asylum seekers deported from Britain are not harassed when they arrive in Sri Lanka.

External affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris said the government had co-operated with the United Kingdom Border Agency in facilitating the return of unsuccessful asylum seekers.

He stressed that none of these returnees had faced any harassment or intimidation, contrary to malicious propaganda carried out by some diaspora groups, the External Affairs Ministry said today.

Professor Peiris had said this when he met with a group of British Parliamentarians, on a visit to Sri Lanka, for an in-depth discussion about current developments in the country.

The Minister briefed them comprehensively on political developments including implementation of the Report of the Lessons Leant and Reconciliation Commission, as well as issues relating to investment, trade and tourism.

Among the matters discussed during this session were the conduct of an island-wide census after almost thirty years, the launch of a trilingual policy, issues relevant to the Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review process and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference which will be held in Sri Lanka next month.

He also briefed the delegation on the preparations being made in Colombo to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next year, including the establishment of a National Task Force.

The Minister appreciated the visit by United Kingdom Parliamentarians during their summer vacation to observe developments at first hand.

He expressed the hope that the visit will help dispel misperceptions generated by the disinformation campaign being carried out by some groups with vested interests against Sri Lanka.

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva briefed the delegation on matters relating to the political process and the role of a Parliamentary Select Committee.

During their stay in Sri Lanka, the British Parliamentarians will visit the Kandy, Jaffna, Killinochchi, Trincomalee and Batticaloa Districts.