EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 20/01/98
EXTRA 05/98 Fear of refoulement / Fear of torture 9 January 1998
CANADAManickavasagam Suresh, aged 42
Manickavasagam Suresh, a Tamil man from Sri Lanka, is facing imminent forcible
return to Sri Lanka, where he would be in danger of serious human rights
violations, particularly torture. His deportation from Canada has been
scheduled for 19 January 1998.
Article 3 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Canada is a party, states
that no person can be returned to another state where “there are substantial
grounds for believing he would be in danger of being subjected to torture”.
The Canadian government is bound by the internationally-recognized principle
of non-refoulement, which prohibits states from returning people against their
will to countries where they risk serious human rights violations.
Manickavasagam Suresh is alleged to have links to the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the main armed opposition group fighting for a separate
state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. In the context of the ongoing armed
conflict between security forces and the LTTE, there have been continuing
reports of arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, “disappearances” and
extrajudicial executions. Amnesty International has documented the widespread
torture of individuals, particularly those suspected of being members or
suspected members of the LTTE in the custody of the security forces in Sri
Manickavasagam Suresh was recognized as a refugee by Canadian authorities in
1991. He has been detained since October 1995 on the grounds that he was suspected
to be a member of an organization that is alleged to have committed terrorist
acts. On 29 August 1997 the Federal Court found that a security certificate
declaring Manickavasagam Suresh to be a person “inadmissible into Canada” under
Section 19 of the Immigration Act, was not unreasonable.
Amnesty International opposes the forcible return of anyone to a country where
he or she may be at risk of human rights violations, irrespective of any
accusations against them.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English or your own language:
- urging that Manickavasagam Suresh not be forcibly returned to Sri Lanka and
expressing deep concern that, if returned, he would be at risk of serious human
rights violations, in particular torture, in Sri Lanka;
- urging that Canada abide by its obligations under the Convention against
Torture and that Manickavasagam Suresh not be put at risk of torture irrespective
of any accusations against him;
- noting that the Canadian government is bound by the internationally-recognized
principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits states from forcibly returning
people to countries where they risk serious human rights violations.
Office of the Prime Minister