Sri Lanka’s Tamil “refugees” or economic migrants and the boat smuggling mafia
– by Shenali D Waduge –
Here’s the simply logic. Anyone fleeing a country using internationally accepted key words to justify their right to be termed a “refugee” must surely run to the closest country for that safety. What is that country – it is India. Why is India not only the closest and why should it be the most appropriate – Tamil Nadu in particular its politicians both government and opposition spend a large amount of time profaning concern for Sri Lanka’s Tamils. So instead of going to India where they would be accepted in open arms why are these “refugees” spending big money to human smuggling syndicates to take them to Australia or Canada. It is because there is something terribly “fishy” that the Australian Government has now decided to pack all to Papua New Guinea.
Anyone paying $25,000 or more is not a refugee!
It is 6821.20km from Sri Lanka to Australia, it is over 14,000km from Sri Lanka to Toronto, Canada while it is just over 32km from Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu yet some of these Sri Lankan Tamils go to Tamil Nadu and from there they get onto boats to travel to Australia or Canada! The catch is “seek a better life abroad” so we wholeheartedly agree with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr who says “People are coming here, not now as a result of persecution, but because they’re economic refugees who have paid money to people smugglers.” If people are paying money to get onto boats and sail the ocean to land in nations like Australia and Canada it should also nullify the claims of repression that have become a perfect slogan to use as reason for them to leave and plead for consideration as “refugees”. Thankfully, Kevin Rudd Australia’s new Prime Minister has seen through the ploys being used and he has gone a step further by carving a deal to export all illegal migrants to Papua New Guinea.
Australians have every right to be concerned. They have accepted over 700,000 refugees and displaced persons since 1945. Asylumseekers are people seeking international protection but whose claims for refugee status have not yet been determined. People arriving by boat are classified by Australian law as ‘unlawful non‐citizens”. They use the mode of boat to travel because international law upholds their right to seek asylum and not be penalized for “illegal” entry. So now we know why BOATS become a prima facie case for asylum seekers!
Moreover, the fact that people ready to seek better pastures are ready to pay and take the risk of the boat journey are perfect guineapigs for a bigger political ball game that would enable human rights groups and foreign governments to bring down the gavel against Governments these “refugees” are attempting to flee from it provides a perfect plot given that these boats are manoevred by terrorist mafia who no doubt would have prepared a database to collect monthly from this newly formed Tamil Diaspora! So when C Wignarajah was arrested by the Croydon Police for smuggling Sri Lankan immigrants into the UK we are now getting the picture? Human smuggling is just one of LTTE’s foreign fund raising functions which has not felt the pinch of the War Victory of 2009 and like its narcotics nexus, continues without too much of fuss and these pay for the upkeep of the foreign parrots and local stooges that need little propping to cry about discrimination, genocide and what not by the Sri Lankan Government.
So the LTTE business model is nothing we need to be surprised over knowing how it has functioned over 3 decades. The alarming thing is that Governments aware of the manner LTTE and its front functions are quite happy to attend its AGMs like Alaistair Burt and his wife while others UK MPs are never shy to even stand atop stages with massive cutouts of Prabakaran while UK not only continues to ban LTTE its MPs simply do not seem to care and so LTTE fronts remain buddies with little bother that LTTE Tamil Diaspora are very much kingpins of the international human smuggling agenda. Then again the words of Hon. Jason Kenney, Canadian MP who visited Sri Lanka when he said “We all know that human smuggling is very dangerous. Every year, thousands of people die in smuggling operations all around the world. In fact, let’s be clear about one thing. Smugglers lie about getting people to Canada. In 2009-2010, two ships carrying Sri Lankan migrants reached Canada. Many of the passengers were kept in immigration detention for months and some are still being detained. Some, I should say, were deemed to be inadmissible to Canada and ineligible to seek asylum for national security grounds because of their involvement in organizations like the LTTE” is certainly encouraging when we can but wonder why as a politician, Prime Minister should get into a knot at the mention of Sri Lanka!
One cannot but question if shortcomings in the politics of policies have created the grave situation that has turned into a business model for all stakeholders of human smuggling. With close to 11million refugees the number of “maritime arrivals” are increasing though human smuggling occurs by land and air in addition to sea.
As for Tamil illegal immigration it is nothing new and has been happening for centuries. Tamils find their origins to Tamil Nadu – the name itself clearly denotes it is a land of Tamils and when Tamils want their own language and own culture what are they doing fleeing on boats bound for Canada and Australia – is it not logical to preserve their language and culture in the Tamil State that runs everything in Tamil with over 65million population – it is the Mummy STATE of all Tamils given that it is the home to 90% of All Tamils.
It is not difficult to connect the LTTE link to the human smuggling and arrests made overseas including India reveal the role LTTE plays in making money out of smuggling people to various destinations while also filling their kitty by further charging for processing their requests because vices certainly affords opportunities even for those who now secure jobs attempting to curb human smuggling. The UN ever ready to dish out terminology ensures that we are more confused about legally defining who flees one’s country. So a person can either be an asylum seeker, a covert entry, an economic migrant, a forced migrant, an overt entry, a refugee or an unauthorized arrival. Therefore, those in the nexus are now masters at manipulating legal systems that exist to ensure illegal immigrants have satisfactorily answered questions of immigration officials to secure them “refugee” status.
Once accepted they are then part of the ugly chain that finds them having to demonstrate against Sri Lanka, picket with placards or even run onto a cricket playground just to grab some petty attention. These type of low tactics are something Sri Lanka is now quite accustomed to and it makes no difference to seeing LTTE fronts wining and dining with foreign parliamentarians and other officials whose nations have banned the LTTE. Hypocrisy needs to have a further adjective added to describe how they function.
Be that as it may the fact that illegals in whatever form are today making up a nexus that is thriving in terms of the profits it generates is unlikely to see the stewardship of will to want to bring it to a close – like all vices those who find it a lucrative venture will ensure the business of boats and people remain unless the taxpayers of these nations make a noise and that is when the politicians start to wake up – Kevin Rudd in action is just one example yet to see similar actions by Canada and other countries is something that requires a more alert Canadian public.
The answer is in the “better” and it has nothing to do with Sri Lanka or the hogwash about discrimination. Anyone with $20,000 can surely lead a good life but what if there are groups that gives this money on a bogus credit and ensure that when these illegals dock on “better” shores and get the key to reside they end up having to be eternally paying the creditor and not many are willing to admit to this arm wrestling truth because not many live to survive if they do. Are we then surprised at the theatrics that prevails whenever Sri Lanka participates in an international event – we should not be. These are hired people like the ones that are hired to cry at funerals!
Whatever the case may be – it is in the best interests of Governments to end the racket of human smuggling though Governments enjoy using these as opportunities to dig a few dents into Sri Lanka thinking they would get the upper hand. Such petty tactics are now best set aside, afterall these are First World “civilized” countries.
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