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UK 'has Tamil blood on its hands'

The British Government is complicit in the torture of the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan authorities as it continues to deport many seeking asylum in the UK, a Labour MP has said.

Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh accused the Government of "painting targets on the backs" of those they were deporting while the UK Border Agency (UKBA) had shared files on Tamil deportees with the Sri Lankan government.

Many Tamils faced detention and torture, she said, while at least two had committed suicide to avoid deportation.

She told MPs the UKBA was due to deport another 40 asylum seekers on Thursday, despite them facing arrest and torture on their return to the Commonwealth country. Amongst the latest deportees are her constituent Jenach Gopinath, a former Tamil politician, who has previously been arrested by the Sri Lankan authorities.

Proposing an emergency debate in the Commons, Ms McDonagh said: "There is evidence of continuing abuses against Tamils, including torture and extra-judicial killings.

"The president of Sri Lanka (Mahinda Rajapaksa), a probable war crimes suspect, has taken on enormous powers over the judiciary and policing.

"The British Government is supposed to be one of the leading forces in the Commonwealth. Yet it is not only turning a blind eye, it is sending planeload after planeload of Tamils back."

She added: "The people on these planes, like Mr Gopinath, have identified themselves as Tamil and against the Sri Lankan Government. Britain is flying them on specially chartered flights.

"It's not like they're arriving incognito. Even worse, the UKBA has actually shared documents about the passengers with the Sri Lankan authorities. We might as well paint targets on their backs.

"I think Parliament needs to say whether we want our country to continue with these miserable deportations, and to continue to have Tamil blood on our hands."

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