Assistance sought to remove Afghan, Pakistani refugees in Sri Lanka

President Maithripala Sirisena today sought international assistance to remove Afghan and Pakistani refugees in Sri Lanka.

Speaking to diplomats based in Colombo, the President said that with the current situation in the country he is unable to ensure the security of the refugees and asylum seekers.

The President said that there are over 1600 refugees in Sri Lanka from other countries.

“They have been here for several years. The UN has taken care of their security. They have also taken care of their needs and informed us about their security,” the President said.

However, the President says some of the refugees have begun to engage in illegal activities.

“With the current security situation in the country we are unable to take care of these people,” he said.

The President sough the assistance of the diplomatic community to remove the refugees and asylum seekers.

He said that he will also take up the issue with the UN office in Colombo.

Human Rights Watch had reported this month that since the April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday bombings by alleged Islamist militants on churches and hotels that killed more than 250 people, angry crowds have threatened and assaulted primarily Muslim South Asian migrants.

According to the UN, following the Easter Sunday attacks at least 1,200 refugees and asylum seekers have been displaced after being evicted from their homes and have been temporarily sheltered in a police station, mosque and school.

Most of the primarily Pakistani and Afghan migrants are Muslim, but they also include Christians. Many, like the Ahmadis, fled to Sri Lanka due to persecution they faced in their own countries. (Colombo Gazette)

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