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Worldwide protests against Australia's detention of 46 refugees

Updated 23:55 GMT

Protests in Australia, as well as outside the Australian High Commission in Tamil Nadu and London today, are demanding the release of 46 refugees who have been detained indefinitely by Australia's Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

In Chennai protesters who had demonstrated outside all day, handed over a petition to the High Commissioner calling on Australia to "end this inhuman and cruel practice of indefinite detention of our brethren, who have sought refuge in your country, fleeing persecution from Sri Lanka."

In a letter, a coalition of activist groups including the Tamil Youths and Students Federation, May 17 Movement, Balachandran Students Movement, Tamil Daesiya Podhuvudaimai Katchi, Students Federation for Free Eelam and Dravidar Viduthali Kalagam, said,

"Australia cannot turn a blind eye to the brutal crimes that Sri Lanka commits on the Tamil people. The United Nations High Commissioner, Navi Pillay raised the seriousness of the human rights violations during her visit to Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan state has also been found guilty of committing genocide against Eelam Tamils by the jurists of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal. We are deeply hurt by Australia’s actions and ignorance of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka."

See the full petition handed over to the High Commission here.

Speaking to the Tamil Guardian, V Prabhakaran from the Tamil Youth & Students Federation stated,

"Australia should stop deporting the Tamil refugees to Sri Lanka hereafter.
Innocent tamil refugees including women and children are experiencing a life time sentence in Australia detention... It's terrible that Australia is committing such a human rights violation".

London, UK

In a simultaneous protest, currently underway in front of the Australian High Commission in London, Tamils are protesting holding banners reading - "Australia" Free indefinitely detained refugees".

Melbourne, Australia

Meanwhile protestors gathered by the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, calling upon the Australia to release the asylum seekers, noting that no other country felt the need to indefinitely detain Tamil refugees.


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