The Tamil Refugee Council has called on the Australian government to release the Tamil asylum- seeking family and allow them to return to Biloela, Australia.
“The Australian government is spending obscene amounts of money to make an example of the family by holding them on Christmas Island and forcing them to fight for their safety through the courts,” Aran Mylvaganam, spokesperson for the Tamil Refugee Council said.
“Tharunicaa and Kopika are wasting in detention. They are confused and scared on Christmas Island. They are not eating properly…The family should be brought home to Biloela immediately for rehabilitation before it’s too late.”
Earlier this month, the Australian Federal Court ruled in favour of the family, stating that two year old Tharunicaa was not “afforded procedural fairness” in making her application- a decision that prevents the family from being deported until the process is resolved.
The family have been in detention since March 2018 and continue to face the threat of deportation to Sri Lanka.
The Biloela family's legal case
The Tamil asylum-seeking family, Priya and Nades Murugappan and their two Australian born daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa, were initially 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.
Last August the government attempted to deport the family but was prevented by a last-minute injunction from the Federal Court which forced the plane carrying the family to land in Darwin.
The judge ruling on the matter, Justice Moshinsky, dismissed the first ground of appeals which claimed that a valid application for asylum was made for Tharunicaa in September last year but upheld a second appeal which maintained that Tharunicaa was not “afforded procedural fairness in her appeal for protection”.
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