Refugee Tamil family battles government repression

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The Christmas Island concentration camp. Image: Wikimedia

Ever since the infamous Tampa affair almost two decades ago, Australia asylum seekers and refugee policies have been marked by xenophobia, cruelty and government intransigence. The Tampa affair was named after the HSS Tampa, a ship carrying over 400 refugees rescued from a distressed fishing vessel, which was refused entry into Australia in August of 2001. Even though there has been a mass movement since the Tampa affair against these policies, both major parties continue this hardline stance.

The latest victims of this repression have been a Tamil family of four who had been quietly living in the regional Queensland town of Biloela. Priya, Nadesalingam and their children, Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, are now imprisoned in the offshore concentration camp of Christmas Island waiting for a last minute appeal that might allow them to remain in Australia.

Aran Mylvaganam is a former refugee and Finance Sector Union (FSU) organizer. He is also a Tamil Refugee Council spokesperson. APC talked to him about why this case has generated such a upswell of support for this family.

Image: Wikimedia

Asia Pacific Currents provides updates of labour struggles and campaigns from the Asia Pacific region. It is produced by Australia Asia Worker Links, in the studio of 3CR Radio in Melbourne, Australia

Note of thanks from rabble.ca: This will be the last episode of Asia Pacific Currents on rabble podcasts.  We thank them for being part of the rabble podcast network since their first show on rabble on February 10, 2010.  You can still hear their radio show by going to 3CR Radio.  Best wishes, Pier, Jiselle and the rest of the Asia Pacific Currents crew.

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