Current information on St. Francis Xavier's Seminary in Colombogam, Jaffna, including on whether its seminarians or priests have been arrested, detained or mistreated in Jaffna by the security forces or the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and in Colombo by the security forces [LKA27003.E]

The following information was provided in a 14 May 1997 telephone interview with a senior priest of the Jaffna Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church who is based in Colombo. The views expressed in this Response are his own.

St. Francis Xavier's Seminary in Colombogam, Jaffna, was established by the Bishop of Jaffna approximately ten years ago to accommodate Tamil seminarians who had problems travelling to the national seminary in Kandy. The Bishop of Mannar also sent his seminarians to St. Francis Xavier. When Jaffna was invaded by the army in December 1995, the seminarians and professors left for Kilinochchi in the Vavuniya area with a minimum number of books. When the armed forces occupied Kilinochchi the seminary moved to Madhu, off the Vavuniya-Mannar road, in an area uncleared of militants. The seminary is presently functioning in Madhu, but at the end of the academic year, which is in August 1997, it will return to Jaffna.

The senior priest has not heard of any seminarian of St. Francis Xavier's Seminary being harassed by either the armed forces or the LTTE.

The senior priest stated that the former director of the seminary, Father Emmanuel was accused by the authorities of supporting the LTTE. He denied these accusations, left Sri Lanka and is presently residing in the UK.

Corroborating and additional information on St. Francis Xavier's Seminary and the treatment of its seminarians by the LTTE and security forces in Jaffna, and by the security forces in Colombo, could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Senior priest, Jaffna Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, Colombo. 14 May 1997. Telephone interview.

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International Report 1996. 1996.

Asian Survey [Berkeley, Calif.]. Monthly. September 1996-March 1997.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996. 1997.

DIRB Indexed Media Review [Ottawa]. Weekly. September 1996-present.

_____. "Sri Lanka" country file. September 1996-present.

_____. "Sri Lanka: Amnesty International" country file. September 1996-present.

Eglises d'Asie [Paris]. Fortnightly. November 1995-present.

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports. (WNC)

Human Rights Watch World Report 1997. 1996.

Keesing's Record of World Events [Cambridge]. Monthly. September 1996-February 1997.
The Refugee Council, London. February 1997.

Protection Denied: Sri Lankan Tamils, the Home Office and the Forgotten Civil War.

Sri Lanka Information Monitor: Situation Report [Colombo]. Monthly. November 1996-April 1997.

The Sri Lanka Monitor [London]. Monthly. October 1996-March 1997.

Tamil Information [London]. Infrequent reports. January-February 1996 to June-September 1996.

Tamil Times [Surrey]. Monthly. November 1996-May 1997.
UNHCR-Geneva. March 1997.

Background Paper on Refugees and Asylum Seekers from Sri Lanka.

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