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No Rohingya refugees in Sri Lanka: Govt.

No Rohingya refugees in Sri Lanka: Govt.

No Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are in Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs confirmed.

The ministry said Rohingya refugees, who had come to Sri Lanka on three previous occasions, had left the country after they were handed over to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office.

The Sri Lanka Navy on 3 March 2008 had rescued 55 Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar when they were stranded along the Sri Lankan coast. The group had left the island after they were handed over to the UNHCR office in July 2012.

In February 2013 the Navy intercepted 170 Myanmar asylum seekers in two boats - 138 in one boat and 32 in the other - in Sri Lankan waters. The refugees had left the country in November 2015 after they were handed over to the UNHCR, the ministry said.

The Navy in 30 April this year has rescued 30 Rohingya refugees and they have left the island after a court ordered to hand them over to the UNHCR last month, according to the ministry.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs says Sri Lanka has never deviated from the accepted procedure and always worked within the approved frame of the law regarding refugees.

The ministry’s response comes following reports that Rohingya refugees are entering Sri Lanka. An internet petition has also been launched requesting the Government to take action to prevent Rohingya Muslims from entering Sri Lanka.

(FT)

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