Colombo: Three Sri Lankan asylum seekers stranded on Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean controlled by Britain, are expected to be transported to Rwanda for medical treatment, the British foreign office has said.
More than 200 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, mostly Tamils claiming to have faced persecution by the Sri Lankan government, arrived on Diego Garcia in five successive boats starting in October 2021, The Island newspaper reported on Monday.
Dozens have since returned to Sri Lanka on flights arranged by British authorities, while others have returned to their boats and sailed farther across the Indian Ocean to Réunion Island, the French overseas department.
The UN Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office told The New Humanitarian that the the “migrants” would be returned to Diego Garcia after their treatment was complete.
The medical transfers are adding to fears that British authorities could seek to deport the Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Rwanda, under an offshore processing deal then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson concluded with the Rwandan government in April.
More than 100 asylum seekers remain on Diego Garcia, waiting for British authorities to determine whether they can be repatriated to Sri Lanka.