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Urgent question on the status of refugees in Sri Lanka

9 May 2019 (updated on 9 May 2019)

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The President of Sri Lanka has asked for international assistance to remove Afghan and Pakistani refugees from the country, saying he cannot guarantee their security.

President Sirisena says that there are 1,600 refugees in Sri Lanka, many of whom are Ahmadi Muslims and Christians escaping religious persecution in Pakistan. Following the Easter Sunday terror attacks, human rights groups have raised concerns that refugees may be targeted.

Siobhain McDonagh asked what representations had been made to the government of Sri Lanka regarding the safety of the 1193 UNHCR refugees in Negombo who have fled to Sri Lanka fleeing religious persecution from their counties and now fear for their safety following the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.

Minister, Mark Field said in response,

"Clearly, freedom of religion and belief is a priority for the Foreign Office... We hope to work together with all Christian communities, and to ensure that... all religions and faiths can live side by side peacefully and with prosperity."

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