To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made or instructed to be made to prevent the use of torture on those Tamil asylum seekers deported from the UK; and if he will make a statement.
The UK takes its international responsibilities seriously and complies fully with all of its international obligations under the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the UN Convention Against Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights. Returns are only enforced if it is safe to do so and the UK Border Agency is satisfied that the individual has no international protection needs. All decisions have the right of appeal, where they are evaluated by the independent Tribunal Service for Immigration and Asylum. The European Court of Human Rights has endorsed our policy that not all Tamil asylum seekers are in need of international protection. The UK regularly raises the issue of torture with the Sri Lanka Government. No formal instructions have been given to raise torture in the context of returns, as the UK deems Sri Lanka a safe country to return to. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued guidance for staff on reporting information or concerns about torture or mistreatment worldwide. This is to ensure that our institutional response to torture and mistreatment is as strong as it can be. Contact details for the British High Commission in Colombo are provided to charter flight returnees upon arrival and advised to call if they require any assistance.