South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders vehemently condemns the assault on the Rohingya refugees by the extremist Sinhala nationalist force led by Buddhist monks in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Rohingya refugees were attacked on 27 September 2017 in Colombo while they were under the care of UNHCR. In response to the attack the Government of Sri Lanka has sent 31 Rohingya refugees to the detention camp in Boossa, a facility which mainly houses persons detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. These refugees arrived in April 2017 from India. SAHR learns that they have been under UNHCR’s care to be settled in a third country.
SAHR emphasises that the government of Sri Lanka is bound to apply the principle of non-refoulement considering its ‘universal acceptance and fundamental humanitarian importance’ as mentioned by the High Commissioner of the UNHCR. It urges the government of Sri Lanka, with the cooperation of UNHCR, to provide necessary facilities to these refugees including personal security and other necessary humanitarian assistance until they leave the country. Groups of Rohingya refugees who came to Sri Lanka previously in 2008 and in 2013 had been already settled in the United States and Canada. Further, SAHR calls upon the Government to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice and ensure that the rule of law is maintained in the country.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights
Dr. Nimalka Fernando