Refugee rights activists gathered in Parliament Gardens to support the release of a Tamil family detained on Christmas Island, reports Chris Slee.
Sivaguru Navanitharasa, a Tamil refugee who fled Sri Lanka in 2008 and who has been detained for nearly 10 years, now faces a new challenge: overcoming cancer.
About 80 people attended a rally called by the Refugee Action Collective on March 2 to protest against the Australian government's plan to reopen the detention centre on Christmas Island and send refugees from Manus Island and Nauru there.
On July 19, 2013, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stood beside Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and said in a classical Rudd pretentious drone: “You won’t be settled in Australia. You’ll be sent to Nauru or Papua New Guinea for reprocessing and resettlement.”
Effective immediately, everyone who came by boat seeking asylum would never be given protection in Australia.
The immigration department has confirmed it wrongly sent two Australian citizens to immigration detention after cancelling their visas.
The federal government has agreed to pay an undisclosed sum in compensation to a nine-year-old girl who was detained on Christmas Island for almost a year, after arriving in Australia with her parents by boat in 2013.
She was part of a class action launched in 2014 that initially aimed to secure compensation for thousands of asylum seekers.
Her lawyers argued she had developed post-traumatic stress disorder, a dental infection, a stammer and separation anxiety in detention and still needs ongoing medical treatment.
In August, Pamela Curr from Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), and Sister Brigid Arthur, from the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, travelled to Christmas Island to visit the men seeking asylum, who are currently held in the detention centre, more than 2600 kilometres from the nearest capital city, Perth. On their return they presented this report.
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As of December last year, anyone who is not an Australian citizen who has spent 12 months or more in jail can be deported at the discretion of the immigration department. By September, 75 New Zealanders and Pacific Islanders were being detained on Christmas Island awaiting deportation.
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