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Senate opposes repatriation stop for Tamils

Switzerland should keep sending rejected Tamil asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka, the Senate decided on Tuesday.

This content was published on May 26, 2009 - 16:35

It followed the view of Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf that halting repatriation would send the wrong signal.

The 26-year-long conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers rebel group seeking independence for the north came to an end earlier this month.

Switzerland, which already has a large Tamil expat community, is expecting more refugees. According to Widmer-Schlumpf, by mid May there were already 662 new asylum requests.

The minister said that all cases would be considered carefully by the migration authorities and that repatriation would not take place to the troubled northern and eastern areas.

The Senate's foreign affairs committee had argued that a repatriation stop was necessary, with some parliamentarians raising concerns of revenge attacks being carried out on Tamils.

In related news, the United Nations' Human Rights Council, which is currently meeting in Geneva, will debate a Swiss draft resolution calling on Colombo to investigate allegations of human rights abuses during the conflict.

It also calls on the Sri Lankan government to ensure the freedom of displaced people, as well as access to drinking water and sanitation.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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