Colombo, Aug 22 — The Sri Lankan government Thursday sought joint international action to combat human smuggling.
Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said no amount of action taken locally will bring about a lasting solution to the human smuggling issue unless the international community together implements sustained and effective measures to prevent such activities, Xinhua reported.
He said that sustained international cooperation was also important to prevent the relocation of the illegal operations elsewhere with less stringent in application of the law.
Over the years, thousands of Sri Lankans have reached Australia illegally but the government says most of them are economic migrants and not genuine political asylum seekers.
The justice ministry quoted Hakeem as saying that it was no secret that the criminal syndicates, who operate human trafficking networks, utilise the provisions of the Refugee Convention to the point of abuse.
“It is my considered opinion that the best efforts made by the government of Sri Lanka and all other source and transit countries will be futile and ineffectual, in the absence of similar stringent measures being put in place by the destination countries,” he said.
The minister said a clear signal had to be sent to the operators of the human smuggling business and to those still contemplating and willing to take the perilous journey across the sea that they have nothing to gain by endangering their lives and using up their life savings since there is a high possibility that their destination country may not meet their expectations.