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Smuggled Sri Lankans deported

Four Sri Lankans had hoped to reach Germany, according to Kazakh authorities, have been deported to Kyrgyzstan from the northeastern Kazakhstan city of Pavlodar, Reuters news agency reported on Monday. According to police, the four were arrested without documents over the weekend as they entered Pavlodar, which they had taken to be Moscow. They were the second group of Sri Lankans in four months who had been duped by smugglers into thinking they were near their intended destination. The group had traveled from Sri Lanka to Dubai and then to the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, after paying smugglers US $6,000 to drive them to Moscow and on to Germany, the report said. In December, police discovered 24 Sri Lankan men who had wandered the frozen steppe near Pavlodar for four days after being dropped off and told they were in Germany; one of them had frozen to death by the time they were found, the report added.

“The 10 most common countries of origin of persons crossing the land border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan includes Sri Lankans,” Chief of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Almaty, Michael Tschanz told IRIN on Tuesday. “Many Sri Lankans are trying to reach Europe and North America, and the route via Central Asia and Kazakhstan is a common one,” he said. “Deporting these people from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan is not an effective solution as they will surely try again. The solution is to send them back to Sri Lanka,” Tschanz added. The IOM is currently initiating a border control project with the Kazakh authorities in order to improve border control between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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