Four in bed, accompanied by security guards: The Biloela family describes the tough year on Christmas Island

The deportation of a Tamil family from Biloela, Queensland, affects the youngest 3-year-old daughter currently in the Australian Immigration Detention Center.

She and her five-year-old sister Kopika (both born in Australia) were detained on Australian territory Christmas Island with their parents asylum seekers after a court injunction prevented them from being deported to Sri Lanka. I did. Sri Lanka.

The family has lived in Biloela since 2014 until they were taken away from their homes and detained in the dawn raid in March 2018.

One of the pictures of Kopika.

One of the pictures of Kopika.

On Wednesday, family and interior attorneys appeared in front of three federal court judges, deciding to appeal and reciprocally appeal Judge Mark Mosinsky’s decision that a valid application had not been filed-and his Some members of the family were given procedural fairness when immigration minister David Coleman considered lifting a bar that prevented her from applying for an Australian visa in connection with the discovery of the youngest child. did not.


Despite the announcement of the federal budget last week, an additional $ 55.6 million will be spent on upgrading the Christmas Island Immigration Center, but the family of four shared beds for almost 14 months on the island. I had to. Mother Priya Murgapan Said.

“We were given a small room, we have no privacy.”

“It’s not a good place to live together as a couple … it affects your mental health.”

The eldest daughter attends school on the island, but Priya says the one-bedroom cabin is not a good place for the family to spend most of their time.

There is no internet access in the cabin, washing machine facilities are frequently broken, children do not have an outdoor playground, and families must be accompanied by security guards outside the center, including going to and from school. She says.

Family attorney Carina Ford visited them in February, comparing their bedroom to a caravan and saying that the conditions were inappropriate for families with young children.

“Honestly, the visit to Christmas Island was very overwhelming. For many reasons; its remote location, the fact that it was a rather stuffy hot place, and the place where they lived was really devastated.” She said.

“It’s as if the tin sheds … were put together … their beds and bedding placement were also obvious concerns.”

The place where they lived was really devastated. It’s like a tin hut … it’s a collection.

-Carina Ford, Attorney

Robin Stephenson is a long-term resident of Christmas Island who is familiar with detention facilities operated by the Australian Government. She claimed that there were other more suitable accommodations on the island.

“Previously, when the number of refugee families arriving on the island was small, the Australian Government was pleased to put them in the right homes. So why is this family not in one of those homes now? Is it? “She said.

The family is currently the only family group detained on Christmas Island. There are other detainees detained in another detention facility.

“I don’t like here”

Priya is five and a half years old, and her eldest daughter, Kopika, understands that her family life is different from her school friends, suffers from multiple security guards escorting her family, and why they are detained by her parents. He says he asks.


Mr. Kopika (5 years old) has been detained for more than two and a half years.


“Kopika is very upset and comes back. Kopika doesn’t like it, she has no friends,” Priya said. “While she’s growing up … she understands … she wants to go out and play with other kids … [Detention] The center is very boring. ”

When asked if the children could visit their friends, Priya said they were “not allowed” and added that school vacations were particularly difficult.

While his mother was interviewed, Kopika said: [it] here. I want to go to Biloela. I want to go shopping and get in my dad’s car. “

Ford says the family should be able to live in the community.

“I don’t know how a mother, father, and two children are considered a security risk. There seems to be no reason they are detained like them.”

“Don’t worry”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said, “The presence of Serco guards. [with the family] Mandated under Section 189 (3) of Immigration Law, for the safety and security of the family. During off-site visits, guards maintain non-uniform and discrete distances. ”

Family members can access the internet through the PC at the property. [and] You can also easily reach out to family, friends, support networks and attorneys via your personal mobile phone, “they added.

Interior Minister Peter Dutton

Peter Dutton accused his family of spending money on taxpayers.


A spokeswoman said, “There is a dedicated playroom for children,” and families can attend “five-week creche facilities,” picnics, sightseeing, and children’s dance and yoga classes. I will.

“ABF [Australian Border Force] Engage in sleep arrangements on a regular basis to ensure their suitability. No concerns have been raised recently. “

The ABF did not answer questions about homes where refugee families were previously allegedly housed.

Priya and her husband say they will arrive in Australia by boat separately in 2012 and 2013 and will not be able to return to Sri Lanka. Priya said she fled after witnessing a bomb attack and the death of her fiancée during the civil war, and said her husband “faced all sorts of threats because of Tamil’s involvement with the tiger.”

Interior Minister Peter Dutton previously called his two children “anchor babies” and accused his family of spending millions of dollars on taxpayers.

Copica painting


She was also overlooked because recent changes in Sri Lanka’s political system increased the risk of their return and their story was widely shared in the media when they first faced deportation. I believe it’s getting harder.

The Sri Lankan government has previously said it is safe for Tamil families to return and has urged those seeking refugee status elsewhere to return.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights called on the Australian Government over a year ago to release families from closed detention environments. The children are currently in custody for 31 months.

After a court hearing on Wednesday, Ms. Ford said she didn’t expect immediate results.

“While waiting for the outcome of today’s hearing, we continue to demand that families be released to live in the community,” she said, adding that the outcome could be months ahead.

Rebekah Holt is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne.

Four in bed, accompanied by security guards: The Biloela family describes the tough year on Christmas Island

Source link Four in bed, accompanied by security guards: The Biloela family describes the tough year on Christmas Island

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