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Gary Anandsangaree speaks on Tamil asylum seekers rescued by Singaporean Navy

“I am very grateful that over 300 Tamil asylum seekers were assisted today by the Singaporean Navy today. The safety and security of the refugees is paramount.” 

“With the reports from this morning that over 300 Tamil refugees may be in danger, I wrote to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the region and spoke directly to the Canadian representative on this matter.” 

“I would like to thank his Excellency, President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc of Vietnam for his country’s efforts to allow the Tamil refugees to land in Vietnam. I have also written to the President, seeking his assistance in ensuring that the refugees are not returned to Sri Lanka, where they could face torture.” 

“The plight of these 300 plus Tamil refugees could have ended in tragedy at sea. While I fully recognize why Tamils may want to flee Sri Lanka, the consequences could be catastrophic. I am therefore pleading with all those who may choose this path to refrain from taking these extraordinary risks. I am also calling on authorities to enforce laws that take advantage of vulnerable people.” 

“My office will continue to assist those impacted in any way possible, and we will work with the UNHCR and the Government of Vietnam.” 

 

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