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'We must continue the fight to end fortress Australia'

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Writing in Redflag this week, Tamil Refugee Council member Ben Hillier condemned the newly elected Australian Labor Party (ALP)'s immigration policy and it's handling of the Murugappan family’s immigration case. 

Hillier stated that the new Labor government could have granted permanent protection to the Murugappan family, "the Biloela family snatched from their home four years ago by Border Force and placed in the prison-like conditions of immigration detention by the Liberal government."

"Instead, its first act concerning refugees was to return to the Sri Lankan government—one run by war criminals who have carried out a genocide against the Tamil minority on the island—a boatload of people who had sought safety in Australia," he wrote. 

"Thousands of Tamils like Priya and Nades have been in Australia for a decade or more and are languishing on bridging visas, either because they are denied protection because of the mode of transport they used to enter the country or because they have been deemed not to be genuine refugees," Hilier wrote. 

Hillier noted that "in the face of all evidence to the contrary—documented evidence from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and others—the Australian government maintains that there is no state-sponsored oppression of Tamils in Sri Lanka."

He further explains that the ALP "even made their [the Murugappan family's] plight a conspicuous part of the federal election campaign" but noted that the Murugappan family "still do not have permanent protection."

"The ALP jumped on the Biloela campaign, using the family’s plight to whitewash its own appalling refugee policies, while at the same time making clear to the political right that there will be no entertaining of humanity by changing the laws that condemn thousands of others," Hillier added. 

“We can’t let the new government off the hook. We must continue the fight to end 'fortress Australia'" Hillier concluded. 

Read the full piece here

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