FECL 10 (November 1992):

NO ASYLUM FOR PERUVIAN REFUGEES SUSPECTED OF INVOLVMENT IN GUERILLA MOVEMENTS

In an open letter addressed to the government, a Swedish organization for the defence of asylum seekers and refugees, FARR, protests against the recent decision of the government to summarily reject asylum applications of Peruvians who are members or otherwise involved in violent movements as e.g Sendero Luminoso and Tupac Amaru. These refugees are sent back directly to Peru. FARR accuses the government of breaching the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

In its letter, FARR unambiguously dissociates itself from the random violence of the above movements but says that mere membership in or other links with such political groups cannot motivate the rejection of an asylum request on the grounds named in article 1 F of the Geneva Convention. "It must be a fundamental principle of justice that it must be proven that the person concerned is guilty of one of the crimes covered by the article."

Article 1 F states that the Convention does "not apply to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that" he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge or if he has been "guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations."

Recent rejections of asylum requests of Peruvians were motivated as follows by the Swedish immigration authorities: "Even if NN has not participated in such crimes, he has been active for an organization whose methods must be considered as comprising acts which are covered by article F 1."

This clearly indicates a change of practice. Previously, cases of rejection on the grounds of article F 1 were extremely rare in Sweden and concerned only persons found guilty of serious crimes (e.g. non-political murder and torture).

FARR points out that even families with childern are threatened with deportation back to Peru and draws the government's attention to the fact that even the rejection of an asylum request on the grounds of article 1F does not automatically allow for the deportation of an asylum seeker back to a country where there are well founded reasons to believe that he is threatened with torture or the death sentence.

FARR refutes the government's argument that the refugees concerned are not at risk in their home country as they were free to leave their country with a valid passport.

"It is difficult to imagine that our authorities should not know that one can obtain a passport and pass the passport control by bribery", it says in FARR's letter.

Meanwhile it has become Known in Peru through media reports that Sweden intends to send back members of organizations such as Sendero Luminoso.

Refugees sent back from Sweden therefore face almost certain arrest upon arrival in Peru, even if their involvment in one of the above organizations was not known to the Peruvian authorities before.

In accordance with a decree promulgated by Peru's president Fujimori, mere membership in a terrorist organization is punishable with imprisonment not under 20 years.

 

Source: FARR, Open letter to the government regarding the decision to reject Peruvian nationals with relations to certain organizations, 19.8.92

 

For further information contact: FARR, Box 137, S-776 23 Hedemora; tel/fax: +46/ 225 14777