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Tamil Community

Volume 79: debated on Friday 24 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has held with the Foreign Ministers of Sri Lanka and India concerning the flow of Tamils from Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

Our high commissioner at Colombo has been keeping closely in touch with the Sri Lankan government about the problem presented by the increased number of Tamils seeking entry to the United Kingdom. We have consistently encouraged the Sri Lankan Government to pursue urgently a political settlement designed to bring an end to the inter-communal dispute.As my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department told the House on 20 May, at column 273, there is no reason to believe that Tamils returning to Sri Lanka face persecution. The situation is thus not such as to justify a general policy of granting leave to enter or remain on an exceptional basis to all Tamils who express a fear to go back to Sri Lanka. all those not clearly in an exceptional category—able to demonstrate that they would suffer severe hardship if returned—will be sent back to their home country.The Government are keeping the situation closely under review.