The People reports – London 03 May 2009:
Two Tamil asylum seekers win the right to stay in the UK after threatening to kill themselves if they are sent home.
The landmark ruling was granted to a brother and sister who said they would commit suicide if forced to return to Sri Lanka, where both were raped and tortured in prison.
The ground-breaking case has hige implications for immigration law, which will have to change if the decision opens the floodgates to others mounting similar appeals.
It could even mean changing European human rights laws with the help of our EU allies.
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas is to contest the decision, fearing it could leave him powerless to deport any asylum seeker who threatened suicide.
Mr Woolas told The People:
“We will appeal and consider our legal options. The judgement goes well beyond the intention of Parliament and defies common sense.
” The ruling in the Appeal Court last Wednesday applied to siblings who have been battling against deportation since arriving here in October 2003.
The Government will now take the case to the House of Lords in a bid to get the decision overturned. A change in the law will follow if that appeal fails.
Home Office insiders say the brother and sister could go back to Sri Lanka safely and it was only their “subjective fear” which made them suicidal.
But Appeal Court judges said the pair’s “only perceived means of escape” from their situation would be to take their own lives, which would make deporting them a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Lord Justice Sedley, sitting with Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Moses, said:
“Hope can alleviate intolerable stress. Take away hope and stress may become unbearable.
“Lifting the threat of removal would remove one of the principal sources of depression.
” Sri Lanka – racked for years by war with Tamil separatists – has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.
Mr Woolas released new figures showing 60,000 appeals are now coming before immigration tribunals, resulting in a total of 4,474 judicial reviews last year.
Thousands of Tamils are mounting a daily protest and hunger strike outside the Commons demanding the UK puts more pressure on Sri Lanka to improve their human rights
And the Institute for Public Policy Research today calls for an amnesty for illegal immigrants so they could pay £1billion in taxes.
See Strangers into Citizens rally 4 May 2009.
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