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Tamil family in Australia seeking asylum ‘are not refugees’ declares Australian minister

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has refused to reverse his decision to deport a Tamil family, declaring that “ at every single turn they’ve been found not to be refugees”.

Nades, his wife Priya and their two daughters, Kopika and Tharunicaa, were refused asylum by Australian authorities and are due to be deported later this year. They are currently being held in detention despite pressure from their local community to reverse the government's decision.

Peter Dutton responded to the case by telling reporters, “The family has gone through multiple court processes. At every single turn they’ve been found not to be refugees”. 

He further stated “they were told before they had children that they were not going to settle ever in Australia, and they resisted that at every turn”.

Nades and Priya came to Australia separately in 2012 and 2013, having fled from Sri Lanka.They were processed in Christmas Island and met and married Queensland. They started their family in the rural town of Biloela. The day after Priya’s extended visa expired in late March her family was taken from their home and placed within a detention camp in Melbourne. An approximate 1,350 asylum seekers who entered Australia illegally are still held in these detention centres.

Government statistics show that the couple were two of almost 6,000 ‘illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) of Sri Lankan background’, that were allowed bridging visas between 2011 and 2013. 10,600 people are classed as IMAs and are having their asylum status reviewed, 17 percent of which are from Sri Lanka.
Supporters of Nadesalingam’s family have organised a series of solidarity rallies for the coming weeks in the hopes of reversing the government’s decision and freeing the family. Two will be held in electorates of Dutton and Immigration Minister David Coleman.

Aran Mylvaganam, a representative of the Tamil Refugee Council, spoke on this case stating,

“You know the family are not doing well. They are facing irreversible damages to their health as a result of this indefinite detention. The current situation for Tamils in Sri Lanka is very bad […] Disappearances are still going. Torture is still being used on Tamil people … under these circumstances, no Tamils should be sent back to Sri Lanka”.

See more from SBS here.