Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Restrictions eased on Sri Lankan refugees to get passports

Published:Friday | June 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Sri Lanka lifted a ban on issuing passports to its citizens who sought refuge abroad from violent conflict or political persecution, saying the ban issued by a previous government violated the rights of citizens forced to flee for their own safety.

The Foreign Ministry rescinded the 2011 order to not issue passports "to those who had applied or gained refugee status or asylum in another country unless they have renounced their refugee or asylum status," according to a ministry statement.

The statement said the instructions had caused hardship for "many Sri Lankans who were forced to leave the country for political reasons and denied a Sri Lankan travel document."

It is believed thousands of Sri Lankans were forced to flee during the 26-year civil war that ended in 2009, when government forces crushed Tamil Tiger rebels who were fighting to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils.