Sri Lanka bans protests outside detention camp housing Rohingya refugees



By APD writer Easwaran

COLOMBO, Sept. 30 (APD) – Sri Lanka on Saturday banned protests outside a detention camp housing Rohingya refugees.

A local court issued the order preventing protests being staged outside the camp in the southern town of Galle.

The order was given following threats by some groups to stage a protest against the Rohingya refugees given protection at the camp.

On Tuesday, a group protested outside a shelter in Colombo housing 31 refugees, most of them women and children who had been rescued by the Sri Lankan Navy from a boat in Sri Lankan waters in April this year.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had said it was alarmed and concerned by the incident at the refugee shelter housing mostly women and children.

The refugees were eventually evacuated to safety by the authorities to whom UNHCR is grateful for support and protection extended to refugees.

UNHCR was equally concerned for the safety and security of its partner’s staff present during the incident who were providing humanitarian assistance to the refugees.

UNHCR emphasizes that refugees are victims of violence and persecution who need international protection and assistance. UNHCR urges the public and all those concerned with refugees to continue extending protection and to show empathy for civilians fleeing persecution and violence.

In Sri Lanka, the presence of refugees and asylum-seekers is authorized by the Government. In consultation with the authorities, UNHCR provides assistance to refugees until longer-term solutions can be found.