Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Tamil torture survivor appeals to live in UK after 'hellish' detention in Manus Island

Thiraviyarajah Subramaniyam, a 37-year-old Tamil refugee and torture survivor, is currently detained under “hellish” conditions on Manus Island, an Australian offshore detention centre in Papua New Guinea, and has launched an appeal to join and settle with his sister in the UK. 

Subramaniyam appealed the Home Office’s refusal in an immigration tribunal on Tuesday. His lawyers stated that his application to settle in the UK in December 2017 was rejected in June 2018 as he failed to provide a valid passport. The Guardian notes that as a refugee, he does not have a valid passport from his home country but he does have a UNHCR issued travel document recognising him as a refugee. 

He originally came to Australia in 2013, coming to Christmas Island and seeking sanctuary. This was followed by an extended period of detention on Manus Island. He is currently in the East Lorengau Transit Centre on Manus.

He has reported having serious mental health issues as a result of the torture he experience in Sri Lanka and the years of detention. In a statement to the court, Subramaniyam’s 36-year-old sister Susila Subramaniyam, raised concerns over his mental health and well being saying:

“I’m very scared for my brother’s future if he’s not able to come and stay with us. He’s not able to look after himself properly,”

Amnesty International has reported “hellish” conditions at the Manus camp. They reported dozens of suicide attempts and incidents of self-harm, since the re-election of Australia’s coalition government last month. 

Rebecca Lim, a community activist based in Australia who has visited Subramaniyam and is supporting him, told The Guardian, 

“Healthcare conditions on Manus are just horrendous. They can treat malaria and typhoid but not torture and trauma. There have been 40 cases of self-harm and attempted suicide since the elections. There’s no plan B if Thiraviyarajah isn’t able to get to the UK.

“If he is allowed to come, he will be the first one to get there from one of these detention centres. He’s a single man. He hopes to marry and have a family. He says he would like to get a job as a truck driver. He wants a future.”

Read more from The Guardian here.