Tamil journalist will not be forced back to Sri Lanka

By Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator on April 12, 2013 3:56 PM ET

A short note to follow up on an alert we posted Wednesday on the threatened deportation of Lohini Rathimohan  (also spelled Lokini), a former television journalist and one of 19 Tamil refugees facing deportation from the United Arab Emirates. Earlier reports said the refugees, who reached Dubai illegally, could be deported this week.

In a post on Twitter today, Babar Baloch, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said "#UAE pledges safe haven for 19 #Tamil #refugees http://bit.ly/110WDb4 ." The Times of India quoted Baloch as saying that the "UNHCR is looking for a solution to resettle the 19 refugees in other countries. We have full cooperation from the UAE government and there is no threat of the refugees being sent back to Sri Lanka."

The decision came after many media support and human rights organizations publicized the case and the possibility that Rathimohan, as a journalist associated with the Tamil secessionist movement, could have faced heavy-handed retribution in Sri Lanka. As we said Wednesday:

CPJ research shows that ethnic Tamil media in Sri Lanka face continued risks. CPJ last week documented an attack on the offices of Uthayan, a Tamil-language newspaper based in the island nation's Northern Province, and disruptions last month by the country's national broadcaster to BBC's Tamil service, which led the British broadcaster to suspend all radio service in Sri Lanka.

In 2009, Rathimohan's colleague Shoba was shown shot and killed in amateur video filmed by Sri Lankan soldiers and obtained by the U.K.'s Channel 4.


Thanks UAE and UNHCR for this. Srilanka is a hell and freedom for anyone including media. Srilankan military is worst than terrorists!!

Sri Lanka was fighting and still fighting worlds most ruthless and inhumane terrorist group which this woman was a active member. We peace loving Sri Lankans certainly DO NOT need these terrorists back on our soil. Sri Lankan Army is the most disciplined Army in the world who rescued hundred thousands of Tamils from LTTE clutches and save the country after 30 years of brutal terrorism. Except some isolated cases like in any other war, Sri Lankan forces have treated Tamils for their best, I think. All these LTTE false propaganda tells otherwise, Who care?> Sri Lanka is a peaceful rapidly developing beautiful country today without these barbaric TERRORISTS and MEGALOMANIACS.

Sorilanka is hell for any journalists. Please do not send this girl to SoriLanka.

Ananda is painting an interesting picture on Sri Lanka.Has he forgotten what happened in March this year at UNHRC regarding Sri Lanka? Keep on denying the terrible acts of human rights abuses, disappearences, torure, discrimination against minorities, freedom of press, etc. not going to help SL. Now is the time for SL to accept that it is sick and needs to see a doctor urgently.

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