Priya Murugappan, a Tamil refugee who continues to be held in Australia detention, has been named as one of Marie Claire‘s Women of the Year, as campaigners continue to demand that her family be allowed to settle in the country.
The announcement, made earlier this week, saw Priya honoured alongside eight other women and the activists of Biloela for having “fought with passion, led with bravery and inspired with their triumphs”.
“Priya Murugappan’s memories are awash with pain and persecution: of her first fiancée being burnt alive before her eyes in Sri Lanka; of being manhandled by Australian guards who ripped a tendon in her arm while forcing her onto a plane seeking to deport her; and of her youngest child nearly dying when she didn’t receive proper medical care in detention,” said Marie Claire.
“Yet the softly spoken mother-of-two remains composed, a pillar of strength and bravery, driven by the desire to protect her family.”
Priya, Nades and their two young daughters, Kopika and Tharnicaa remain in "community detention" in Perth. The family of four has been fighting a long legal battle to remain in Australia since they were removed from their Biloela home in 2018.
Despite credible concerns over torture and extra-judicial killings in Sri Lanka, the Department of Home Affairs in Australia has repeatedly maintained that the family does not meet the criteria for protected status.
“All I want is to go back to Biloela, restart my life and live peacefully,” Priya told Marie Claire.