Urgent Statement: Stop torture flight to Sri Lanka on 28th February 2013!

Urgent Statement

Stop the charter flight to Sri Lanka on 28th February 2013!
Don’t deport Tamils to torture

Since June 2011, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has hired 8 aircraft to forcibly return planeloads of people to Sri Lanka.

Tamils sent back on these flights have been tortured. This is well documented through medical reports by Freedom from Torture and Human Rights Watch.

The UKBA know it is unsafe to return Tamils to Sri Lanka.

But the Agency is turning a blind eye, at the behest of people higher up in the British State who have blood on their hands.

Every UKBA plane that lands in Colombo is a propaganda victory for the Sri Lankan government, whose leaders face credible accusations of war crimes and ongoing genocide against the Tamils. A conflict the British elite manipulated to satisfy their own geo-strategic and commercial interests. Now, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is consolidating authoritarian rule, attacking the independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press.

Every UKBA plane that lands in Colombo is a green light for British businessmen to ignore humanitarian concerns and profit from the highly lucrative military occupation of Tamil lands and seas. British companies are building hundreds of bridges in the north and east of Sri Lanka to connect new settlements of Sinhalese soldiers and their families. UK-listed corporations are exploring deep-water oil & gas reserves off the west coast of Sri Lanka. Tamil farmers and fishermen are being displaced by the Sri Lankan Army and Navy to facilitate a ‘land grab’ by foreign investors. The Conservative Ministers, MPs and Peers who defend the Sri Lankan Government do so because they are in bed with these companies.

Every UKBA plane that lands in Colombo terrorises Tamil dissidents in the diaspora. UKBA charter flights are a strong-arm tactic designed to intimidate immigrant communities who pose a threat to the power structure. Charter flights restrict migrants’ access to legal help, and involve logistical arrangements described as “inhumane” by a cross-party Parliamentary group. The secretive aircraft and coach companies which profit from transporting immigration detainees to their final destinations are nothing more than torture taxis.

Still, persistent resistance from the grassroots is making the British Establishment think twice about sending Tamils back to their persecutors.

A court case began this month about the UKBA’s country guidance on Sri Lanka. The hearing is adjourned until the end of the month. How can the UKBA proceed with another charter flight before a ruling has been made?

We demand that deportations to Sri Lanka end immediately.

Signatories so far include:

Stop Deportation Network

SOAS Detainee Support Group

Croydon Migrant Solidarity

Campaign Against Criminalising Communities

Hands Off Somalia

We ask concerned groups and individuals to add their names to the list of supporters – email stopdeportation[at]riseup.net

Please send it out to your friends, networks, anyone that might be interested.

You can also write to your local MP and the Home Secretary to protest against the flight.

Rt Hon Theresa May MP
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 72195206
Fax: 020 7219 1145


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