Friday, 03 October 2014 - 8:05
SL witnessed 700% increase in the arrival of asylum seekers and refugees
Sri Lanka has called on refugee receiving countries to expedite the processes of finalizing resettlement claims and to also assist UNHCR to enhance its resource capacity, in order to overcome present difficulties being experienced in Sri Lanka on account of rapid influx of refugees and asylum seekers .
Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Samantha Jayasuriya in a statement to the 65th Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR yesterday in Geneva, said despite not being a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Sri Lanka has been accommodating refugees and asylum seekers in the country.
However, during the last two years Sri Lanka witnessed an almost 700% increase in the arrival of asylum seekers and refugees, resulting in serious law & order, security, as well as health related issues for Sri Lanka.
While being sensitive to the humanitarian aspects of asylum seekers and refugees, the Government has sought UNHCR’s assistance in addressing related issues including establishment of a safe house and welfare centre for identified refugees until they are resettlement, regularization of the return of asylum seekers whose claims have been rejected, expediting the resettlement process; and ensuring adequate facilities and monetary assistance provided to Asylum seekers until their claims are processed or resettlement is found.
However these issues remain largely unresolved and Sri Lanka urges UNHCR to work closely with the Government to resolve these issues.