Human Rights

Sri Lanka demands USD 8000 to bring over dead Tamil refugee’s body

Australia denied that it had demanded funds from the family to repatriate the body of a Tamil refugee who died in one of its  offshore centers while Sri Lanka has now requested the family  to pay more than 8000 dollars to bring his body home.

Family members of Rajeev Rajendran whose body was found on the Lorengau hospital in Papua New Guinea told journalists in Colombo that the Jaffna regional consular office of the Sri Lanka foreign ministry requested the sum of 12,54000 Rupees (USD 8,171) to transport the body.

'No funds requested' - Australian HC

Meanwhile, the Australian High Commission in Colombo rejected earlier information provided by Tamil Refugee Council (TRC) in Australia as false.

“The Australian Government – including the High Commission – has not been approached by Mr Rajendran’s family and has not requested funds to repatriate his body,” said the High Commission in a statement released to the media on 4 October.

“As Mr Rajendran died in Papua New Guinea, repatriation arrangements are a matter for the Papua New Guinea Government,” it added.

However, TRC emphasize that the Australian government should be responsible for the death and the return of the body of a man under their custody.

“Refugees seeking asylum are sent to offshore detention centers by Australia,” explained TRC spokesman Aran Mylvaganam.

'Callous disregard'

By washing their hands off accountability for Rajeev’s death and hand balling their responsibility to PNG authorities Australian Government has once again shown their callous disregard to refugee lives and treating them as criminals," he added.

TRC is demanding that Australian authorities “immediately return Rajeev Rajendran’s body to his loved ones, at no cost to his family, and pay all costs associated with his funeral.”

Fellow detainees in the East Lorengau detention centre held a vigil honouring the memory of Rajeev Rajendran.

© JDS

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Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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