16 Feb 2017

Sri Lankan PM: asylum seekers 'forgiven'

1:54 pm on 16 February 2017

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister says Sri Lankan asylum seekers living in Australian-run camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island are welcome to return home.

The ABC reported that Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is visiting Australia, made the statement in a joint press conference with Australia's Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, on Wednesday.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is currently visiting New Zealand for the first time.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is currently visiting New Zealand for the first time. Photo: AFP

"Come back. All is forgiven. It's quite safe in Sri Lanka. We're just starting the Missing Persons Office. It's quite safe and some of them [asylum seekers] are from areas where the conflict never took place - some of them are not even Tamils."

However a human rights lawyer, Lakshan Dias, who represents asylum seekers and refugees in Sri Lanka, warned against returning, saying the situation was still dangerous.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs