Turned Back to Torture?

A Dateline special investigation airs allegations that some failed asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka by Australia have been abducted and abused by Sri Lankan security forces on their return.

Go Back To Where You Came From presenter, Dr David Corlett, goes undercover to hear horrifying stories of beating and torture of those accused of being associated with the defeated Tamil Tigers.

One returnee describes having his fingernails torn out with pliers and being hung upside down and beaten.

One woman claims she was raped and beaten by Sri Lankan authorities as she tried to flee her homeland.

Dateline puts these claims to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia.

Corlett also interviews Sri Lankans who have fled to the UK. These people and human rights experts describe a further catalogue of rape and torture, including branding with hot metal rods.

KshenukaDateline hears further claims that the government’s policy of ‘enhanced screening’, by which Sri Lankan asylum seekers are subject to rapid assessment, may be returning people to the kind of persecution the Refugee Convention is designed to prevent.

WATCH – Click to see Dateline’s special investigation.

SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENT RESPONSE – Sri Lanka has dismissed the claims in Dateline’s investigation as ‘baseless’. Watch the full response interview with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe.

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT RESPONSE – Dateline sent a series of detailed questions to the Australian Government regarding the allegations in this story. Read its response in full.

BLOG – Dr David Corlett is also an expert on asylum seeker issues, and here he writes more about his story and his thoughts on Australia’s asylum seeker policy.

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID – David talks to SBS World News Radio, with more about the undercover journey he took to meet the victims and hear their stories.

AN UNFINISHED WAR – Read the report by lawyer Yasmin Sooka referred to in David’s story, which details allegations of abuse from 40 victims.

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW CENTRE – The Australian Human Rights Law Centre has put together a briefing with more background about the mistreatment of Sri Lankans returning home. Read it here.

REPLAY – Look back at Dateline’s previous stories about Sri Lanka and asylum seekers, including aspecial edition of the program from 2012 looking at the issues surrounding Sri Lankans trying to reach Australia.

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