Media Release: Tamil asylum seeker forcibly deported

Mr X, a Tamil asylum seeker has been deported back to Sri Lanka. He is the first Tamil to be forcibly deported from Sri Lanka. His family fears for his life.

He was moved to Maribyrnong Detention Centre on Sunday in preparation for deportation and according to sources, was put on a Thai airways flight at around 2.30 yesterday (Wednesday) from Tullamarine. This action was taken by the Department of Immigration despite a last ditch effort to get a court injunction on Mr. X’s removal and despite evidence that Tamil’s continue to face persecution and torture Sri Lanka.

“Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is aware of the high court case judgement expected soon, that has the potential to give further appeal rights to asylum seekers facing deportation. He should not be attempting to subvert this process,” said spokesperson for the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria), Benjamin Solah

The Tamil asylum seeker Hari, deported to Sri Lanka by the UK government, says he was beaten with electrical wire and suspended upside down by chains on return. His 17 days of torture were revealed by The Guardian one month after Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen met with Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapksa. The minister has also recently held negotiations with the Rajapksa government on asylum seekers.

“Sri Lanka faces credible accusations of war crimes, and conditions for Tamils have not improved. Amnesty International says 32 activists disappeared between Oct 2011 and May 2102.”

The Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) condemns the deportation in the strongest terms and demands Mr Bowen puts a freeze on any further deportations.

“The Howard years saw 9 people killed after they were deported to Afghanistan, according to the Edmund Rice Centre. Is this what Chris Bowen wants to return to? The minister should bring Mr X back to Australia, and stop any further deportations to danger that risk asylum seekers lives,” said Benjamin Solah.

Aran Mylvaganam, from the Tamil Refugee Council said, “We are outraged by the forcible deportation of this Tamil refugee by the Australian Government. It is very disappointing that despite pleas from the Tamil community and human rights organisations to halt the deportation, Australia has still deported this Tamil man.”

“There is evidence that forcibly deported Tamil asylum seekers are facing torture in Sri Lanka. In some cases, Tamils have been killed,” Mr Mylvaganam said.

*Mr X’s name has been withheld for fears of his safety and his family upon return to Sri Lanka.

Protest Against Offshore Processing of Refugees

Sunday, August 12 @ 1pm / State Library, Swanston Street, Melbourne

Welcome refugees! Not Malaysia, not Nauru!
Guaranteed resettlement of all refugees in Indonesia!

Both major parties have cynically attempted to use the recent boat sinking tragedies that claimed the lives of around 90 refugees off the coast of Christmas Island to solidify offshore processing as part of Australia’s asylum policy. This is about strengthening a refugee policy that seeks to deter refugees and turn them back, rather than help them. If you reject the inhumane and unjust treatment of asylum seekers, which includes the mandatory detention of thousands of innocent people, then join the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) in protesting against these attempts to establish offshore processing. Stand up for human rights, free the refugees!

Protest called by the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria)
For more info contact Declan on 0400 863 038

Public Forum: ASIO Assessments, Leaving Refugees in Limbo

Wednesday, July 11 @ 6.30pm / Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne (map) / Facebook Event

A public forum presented by the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria)


  • Brian Walters – SC, Human Rights lawyer
  • Niromi de Soyza – (non de plume) author of Tamil Tigress
  • Harvey Stern – President of Labor for Refugees
  • Declan Murphy – Refugee Action Collective (Victoria)

Around 60 refugees are facing indefinite detention on the basis of adverse security assessments made by ASIO. This includes families with young children. None of them have been given the reason for these assessments, there is no trial, and no right to appeal. Three Tamil refugees who have been rejected by ASIO have attempted suicide in Broadmeadows detention centre. Refugees are threatened by persecution and danger, and are in no sense a security threat themselves. The case of Ranjini and her children demonstrates that ASIO and its security checks have no credibility. ALP national policy, which states that ASIO’s assessments should be reviewable, has not been implemented. There is no actual law that says that refugees with adverse security assessments must be detained, the Immigration Minister has the power to release them all. Come to a meeting to discuss how we can get the Government to end indefinite detention and release the refugees into the community.

For more information email us at or call Declan on 0400 863 038