The Federal Court of Canada has overturned the refugee status granted a passenger aboard a smuggling ship linked to the LTTE, just as the refugee board extended protection on the same grounds to a Tamil passenger of a second smuggling ship, highlighting the difficulty in handling the two highly publicized mass arrivals.
The overturned decision involves one of 492 Sri Lankan Tamil migrants who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea in 2010; the newly granted asylum decision involves one of the 76 aboard the MV Ocean Lady in 2009.
In both, the men had been accepted as refugees under claims that publicity connecting the ships to the LTTE placed all passengers at risk in their homeland by mere association. The court’s rejection of the claim could impact other cases still pending.
The Canadian government appealed the decision to the Federal Court and Justice Paul Crampton accepted its objection, National Post reported' .
“A group of people who have decided to travel to Canada on a particular ship,” is not “fundamental to a person’s basic humanity,” wrote Justice Crampton, and did not qualify as what are called “refugees sur place,” meaning those not refugees when they leave their homeland but become refugees through the circumstance of their case.
The claimant’s testimony, that he had previously been questioned by Sri Lankan officials about possible links to the LTTE and released, is evidence that the government knows he is not a hardcore member of the LTTE, the judge said.