85 Sri Lankan asylum seekers agree to return from Vietnam

85 Sri Lankan asylum seekers agree to return from Vietnam

November 28, 2022   03:28 pm

The Sri Lankan Government is currently aiding the repatriation of 85 Sri Lankans who agreed to return to the island following an illegal migration attempt, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry stated.

Speaking in Parliament this morning (28), Sabry revealed that they are to be repatriated from Vietnam.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that while the entirety of Sri Lanka’s population is suffering at the hands of the country’s economic crisis, it is evident those in the North and East are suffering disproportionately, thus making them more likely to fall victim for human trafficking scams.

Responding to a statement made by Vanni District MP Selvam Adaikkalanathan, the foreign minister suggested that a mechanism should be implemented through which the community is warned of the scams and dangers that lie under the guise of illegal migration.

“We need to inform them not to get caught to the trafficking part of it”, he said, warning that those who travel illegally under refugee status or with invalid passports eventually end up suffering.

Earlier this month (Nov. 7), a total of 302 Sri Lankans were rescued in international waters after the multi-day fishing boat they were on, ‘LADY R3’, ran aground near Vietnam and Singapore.

Following the incident, a Sri Lankan aboard the vessel had contacted the Sri Lankan Naval Rescue Operations Centre, which in turn later informed the Vietnamese Naval Rescue Operations Centre in this regard.

The Governments of Singapore and Malaysia were then alerted about the vessel in question, after which the Japanese ship ‘Helios Leader’, which was sailing in nearby waters, was informed.

Subsequently, a joint operation was conducted during which the group of Sri Lankans, inclusive of 264 males, 19 females and 20 children, were rescued.

While the group were in good health at the time of the rescue, they currently remain detained in several refugee camps in Vietnam.

Minister Sabry further added that two of them have consumed alcoholic sanitisers.

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