At 2pm today a group of injunction applications for Tamils facing removal to Sri Lanka by charter flight on 28 February 2013 were heard before Mr Justice Wilkie and Upper Tribunal Judge Gleeson. A suspension on the removal of all Tamil failed asylum seekers was ordered (copy here).
The cases concerned the sole issue of whether removal should be suspended for some or all of those on the charter flight at a time when the courts were considering detailed evidence on the safety of returned failed asylum seekers in an upcoming Country Guidance case. The court heard detailed submissions from Renaissance Chambers barristers Charlotte Bayati and Nishan Paramjorthy and from Philip Nathan of Landmark Chambers.
The issue of safety on return to Sri Lanka for Tamil failed asylum seekers has been widely covered in the press in recent days and weeks. Human Rights Watch only yesterday issued a new report on use of rape and other forms of sexual violence against Tamils suspected of links to the LTTE. Channel 4 has been covering the issue in detail and The Guardian and The Independent have also carried stories.
For non Tamil failed asylum seekers an application for suspension of removal on an individual basis to the Administrative Court setting out cogent grounds as to why the Country Guidance issues are relevant to them. The Secretary of State, represented by Jonathan Hall, sought permission to appeal the judgment to the Court of Appeal. Permission was granted but the suspension remains in force.
Thanks go to Arun Garanathan, Alison Pickup, Alasdair McKenzie, Rudolf Spurling, Sara Anzani and Iain Palmer for their invaluable contributions to the case.