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Tamil asylum-seeking family detained on Christmas Island for 1000 days

A Tamil asylum-seeking family have been detained on Christmas Island for 1000 days and continue to face deportation to Sri Lanka. 

Priya and Nades Murugappan and their two Australian born daughters Kopika and Tharnicaa were intialliy detained in Melbourne during an early morning raid in March 2018. They were detained after their four-year bridging visa expired.

Nades and Priya came to Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013 having separate asylum claims. Priya reported seeing her former husband burnt alive whilst Nades is fearful of returning to Sri Lanka due to his connections to the LTTE. Despite credible concerns over torture and extra-judicial killings in Sri Lanka, the Department of Home Affairs has repeatedly maintained that the family does not meet the criteria for protected status. Australian immigration law prevents “unauthorised maritime arrivals” but discretion can be placed in exceptional cases likes that of the Murugappan family.

The family have been supported by the local community of Biloela, where they lived. The community have been fundraising for the family and carrying out political campigns calling to "bring them home to Biloela."

Speaking at a digital rally earlier this year, Priya said: 

“It is very dangerous for us in Sri Lanka. The Rajapaksa government is very bad for Tamils. They have killed so many people, including my family members. We are very scared of going back to Sri Lanka,” Priya told the rally.

“Please let us lead a normal life in Biloela,” Priya pleaded.

The family are all currently being detained in a one-bedroom cabin, with no internet access, frequently broken washing machine facilities and no outdoor play area.

They are also under constant escort by guards outside of the centre, including to and from school.

To find out how you can help the Murugappan family, visit their site here.


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