Immigration and Refugee Board issues a “persuasive decision” stating your life is not in danger just because you are a Tamil who has been sent back to Sri Lanka!

A series of killings, robberies and violence over the last few weeks has been inflicted on Jaffna Tamils and it has all the trappings of the state sponsored death squads which has characterised that country’s slide over the last 40 years into a failed state.

Those killed include a Hindu priest and an education official, with the latter having refused to obey an army order for school children to only sing the national anthem in Sinhala.

Requests by the victims’ families for an urgent investigation of these heinous crimes have been met with the Sri Lankan government’s steadfast denial of its complicity and rather, it has suggested the reporting of these incidents is yet another example of the failed Tamil Tiger apologists to discredit Sri Lanka!

Yet, it appears the Canadian government’s Immigration and Refugee Board exists in a parallel universe! Their “persuasive decision,” a note aimed at maintaining consistency in IRB rulings, said meaningful changes in Sri Lanka suggest Tamils – particularly young males – won’t be persecuted because of their social group or political opinions.

The policy, which could affect refugee claimants who arrived in Canada aboard the Ocean Lady and MV Sun Sea, is being challenged in court by a lawyer who says it is not legally sound. The note was also criticized by activists, who suggested it could put lives in danger.

The case cited in the new IRB policy involved a 25-year-old Tamil male from Sri Lanka. The claimant told the refugee board that “he has been and will be persecuted by the Sri Lankan army, government officials and paramilitary agents associated with the Sri Lankan government if he returns to Sri Lanka.” The IRB, an independent administrative tribunal, rejected his refugee claim in November. This rejection was cited in the persuasive decision four weeks later.

Daniel McLeod, a Vancouver lawyer who has represented many of the recent Tamil migrants, said the decision appeared to be politically motivated. He accused Ottawa of trying to stymie Tamil refugees at a time when the number of claims is high.

David Poopalapillai, a spokesman for the Canadian Tamil Congress, echoed those concerns and called the persuasive decision a “worrisome development.” He wondered how the IRB could argue the situation in Sri Lanka has improved so greatly since the country’s civil war ended in 2009.

Meanwhile, as we were about to post this blog entry, on January 19, the latest news of white-van abductions has come in:

“Sri Lanka: Seminary student tortured in white-van, terror-campaign takes new form in Mannaar”

A Sri Lanka Campaign advisor has secured independent confirmation of the accuracy of this