Forum: Missing Boats and Disappeared People: The fate of the Tamil refugees

A public forum of the Refugee Action Collective


Fr Pancras Jordan – Dominican priest of Tamil origin working in schools in the Brisbane Archdiocese. He has been advocating for Tamil rights in Sri Lanka since coming to Australia in 1991.

Trevor Grant – Tamil Refugee Council, and author of a new book ‘How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away With Murder’

Emily Howie – Emily Howie is a lawyer at the Human Rights Legal Centre, and is currently on Columbia’s Leebron Human Rights Fellowship conducting research on asylum seekers in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has been condemned by human rights groups for the torture and murder of Tamils. Yet Australia has been sending asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka. Australia had already sent back over 1,000 Tamils to Sri Lanka under the “enhanced screening” process, which denies asylum seekers a fair chance to put their case for refugee status. Over 200 of these returned asylum seekers are currently in Negombo prison, others have disappeared.

Many Tamils remain in detention centres in Australia, Nauru and PNG, while thousands more are living in the Australian community with the constant threat of deportation. The stress has led to suicide attempts, including the self-immolation of Leo Seemanpillai.

Nearly 50 Tamils who have been recognised as refugees have been kept in detention indefinitely because ASIO claims they are a threat to “national security”.

All welcome to hear these three remarkable speakers, and to join us in building a refugee rights campaign capable of breaking the bipartisan anti-refugee policies.