Protesters to Qantas: 'Don't profit at the expense of human lives'

Photo Aran Mylvaganam

Thirty refugee supporters protested outside the Melbourne headquarters of Jetstar on November 9, demanding that Qantas (Jetstar's parent company) cease participating in the deportation of asylum seekers.

Tamil Refugee Council member Aran Mylvaganam told the rally that the Australian government has deported hundreds of Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka. Citing a United Nations report, which showed that torture is "endemic and routine" in Sri Lanka, he said Tamils who are sent back are in grave danger. He called on Qantas not to be complicit, saying: "Don't make a profit at the expense of human lives".

Protesters held placards highlighting two cases of people currently detained and facing deportation: a Tamil family - Priya, Nades and their two Australian-born children - who were detained after living for four years in the Queensland town of Biloela, and face deportation to Sri Lanka; and Huyen, a woman with a baby born in detention, who faces deportation to Vietnam.