Late last year, an RTI application regarding refugees from other countries coming to Sri Lanka was filed to government authorities. Early this year some information was obtained from the Department of Immigration & Emigration with regard to the questions asked in the said application.
The application had requested information regarding the procedures undertaken when refugees or asylum seekers arrive at Sri Lankan shores, the actions taken and procedures followed if someone enters the country illegally, and the grounds on which those requesting asylum/refuge are deemed to be legal or illegal in our country.
While the answers to many of the questions in the application were references to written laws (ex: Law enforcement government agencies take action based on the provisions of Immigrants and Emigrants Act 1948 No.20, Part iii.), the public authority also shared some information regarding the Department of Immigration and Emigration’s responsibilities. Namely, the reply mentioned that the Department is responsible for upholding provisions of Immigrants and Emigrants Act 1948 No.20, which is vital for controlling Sri Lanka’s border.
It was also stated that the Department of Immigration and Emigration is responsible for accepting asylum requests from foreign nationals and their refugee status determination.