•   
  •   

Australia The girl from Biloela who has spent every birthday in detention with her Tamil family

00:02  12 june  2021
00:02  12 june  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

Christmas Island locals rally around Biloela family

  Christmas Island locals rally around Biloela family The people of Christmas Island are used to hosting asylum seekers, but the presence of the "Biloela family" in the community has generated unprecedented sympathy, the shire president says."I don't think you'd find anyone on Christmas Island who thinks little kids should be kept in detention," Gordon Thomson, a member of the Labor Party and local union leader, told 7.30.

Today she turns four while being treated for pneumonia and sepsis, a life-threatening blood infection, at Perth Children's Hospital. While her mother Priya is with her , Tharnicaa's father Nades and older sister Kopika remain in detention on Christmas Island far off the coast of northern Western Australia. The Tamil family have been held there since August 2019 but their legal battle to remain in the country stretches back years. Here's how the case has unfolded. Tharnicaa and Kopika are the only children in an Australian immigration detention centre. (supplied.

Kopika is a five-year-old girl who has been locked up by the Australian government for most of her childhood. In 2019, her family was sent to a detention centre on Christmas Island, an Australian outpost in the Indian Ocean. Both moved to Biloela , which had a meatworks known to employ new migrants including Tamil asylum seekers. That's where they met. They fell in love, got married, and had two kids. image source, HOMETOBILO/TWITTER. image captionThe family seen in detention in 2018.

a group of people posing for the camera: Nades and Priya with their Australian-born daughters Kopika and Tharnicaa. (Supplied: Angela Fredericks) © Provided by ABC NEWS Nades and Priya with their Australian-born daughters Kopika and Tharnicaa. (Supplied: Angela Fredericks)

Australian-born Tharnicaa has spent every birthday in immigration detention.

Today she turns four while being treated for pneumonia and sepsis, a life-threatening blood infection, at Perth Children's Hospital.

While her mother Priya is with her, Tharnicaa's father Nades and older sister Kopika remain in detention on Christmas Island far off the coast of northern Western Australia.

The Tamil family have been held there since August 2019 but their legal battle to remain in the country stretches back years.

‘I'm proud to be from Biloela': The town they called home

  ‘I'm proud to be from Biloela': The town they called home The story of Biloela and its most famous family, who "just wanted a safe, happy life with their kids", is again burning on Australia's collective tongue.SUVs towing caravans slow down outside her patch of Rainbow Street and silhouetted faces peer from the windows. She can see them sometimes from inside the house, a neat timber rental a few streets from the sleepy main drag.

The Biloela family has incredibly strong support from the 1,500 residents of Christmas Island. Posters with the family ’s picture feature on the main road. Wherever I went I found locals telling me that it is wrong to keep two little girls locked up in detention . ‘Australians have seen so many pictures of this family , but The girls go to school every day with a guard accompanying them. Priya and Nades can go to the recreation centre on Thursday mornings, and sometimes on Friday. All other outings have to be requested three days in advance. Recently the family got a rare approval to attend two community

Who are the Biloela family ? Priya and Nades Murugappan and their two Australian-born daughters, Kopika and Tharnicaa, have been held on Christmas Island since August 2019, after a court injunction prevented them being deported to Sri Lanka. Tharnicaa, with her mother, was moved to a Perth hospital last week suffering from sepsis and pneumonia. On Tuesday the government announced the rest of the family would be moved to Perth where they will be held in community detention while legal matters are ongoing.

Here's how the case has unfolded.

Nades and Priya flee Sri Lanka

Nadesalingam Murugappan, better known as Nades, arrived in Australia by boat in 2012 to seek asylum from persecution in Sri Lanka.

According to court documents from June 2018, Nades claimed he was forced to join the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2001.

The Tamil Tigers fought to create an independent state during a bloody 26-year civil war but were defeated in 2009.

Tamils report they still face retribution and Nades has said he was harassed by the Sri Lankan military and bears scars from a government bomb blast.

Kokilapathmapriya Nadesalingam, known as Priya, also arrived by boat in 2013 to seek asylum.

Priya has said she fled Sri Lanka after she saw her then-fiance and five other men from her village burned alive by the army.

Biloela family to be reunited in Perth but 'no pathway to visa'

  Biloela family to be reunited in Perth but 'no pathway to visa' The Tamil family will be permitted to live in Perth in a community detention placement.Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said the family of four will be permitted to live in Perth in a community detention placement while their youngest child continues to be treated in the city's children's hospital.

A four-year-old Tamil girl has been discharged from a Perth hospital, where she had been receiving treatment for a blood infection after being medically evacuated from Christmas Island immigration detention centre. But Tharnicaa's father, known as Nades, and her older sister, Kopika, were left on Christmas Island until they were allowed to rejoin the family on Tuesday. Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has said the asylum seeker family can live in Perth in "community detention ". "Thank you to the doctors who take care of Tharnicaa in hospital," Priya said, according to a media release by

Tharunicaa Murugappan's hospitalisation has again raised the plight of her family , who have been detained on Christmas Island since 2018, write Mary Anne Kenny and Nicholas Procter. On Monday, the image of a small girl in a hospital bed, crying as her big sister gives her a kiss flooded social media feeds. The girls are Tharunicaa and Kopika Murugappan, the only two children in immigration detention in Australia. The photo was released by advocates as three-year-old Tharunicaa was medically evacuated to Perth on Monday evening.

Both Nades and Priya arrived in Australia without a visa and were considered "unlawful maritime arrivals" under Commonwealth law.

They were granted temporary bridging visas and settled in the central Queensland town of Biloela, which had welcomed refugees for years.

The pair married and their first daughter, Kopika, was born in May 2015.

Tharnicaa was born in June 2017.

Family removed from Biloela home

On March 4, 2018, Priya's visa expired.

At dawn the next day, Nades, Priya and the two girls were removed from their home and placed into the custody of Border Force officials.

The family were then flown to the Broadmeadows detention centre in Melbourne.

Tharnicaa celebrated her first and second birthdays behind wire mesh fences.

The removal of the family outraged the Biloela community, who started the Home to Bilo campaign to bring them back.

Federal MP Ken O'Dowd, whose electorate Flynn includes Biloela, said the family did not qualify for refugee status and had exhausted all appeal processes.

‘Let them stay': Supporters rally as Tamil family reunites at Perth hospital

  ‘Let them stay': Supporters rally as Tamil family reunites at Perth hospital A crowd of dozens of supporters holding banners and balloons chanted "let them stay" as Nades Murugappan and his daughter Kopica arrived in Perth under the watchful eye of border officials on Tuesday evening. There were no high-fives or emotional embraces at Perth Airport as the pair touched down on West Australian soil at 5pm, having been flown from Christmas Island on a government charter jet that landed in a private hanger.The father and daughter were taken to Perth Children's Hospital shortly after landing, where they were to reunite with wife Priya and daughter Tharnicaa after more than a week apart.

The family has not been reunited in Perth, despite the Acting Prime Minister saying that was happening. About 50 people attended a vigil in Biloela urging the Immigration Minister to use special consideration powers to allow the Tamil family to return. "I promised her that when they are home here that we'd buy her a cake for every year that she 's been in detention and she could cut all of them," Ms Fredericks said. During the vigil, the community sang Happy Birthday and clapped six times – four times for each birthday , one for good luck and another to wish that Tharnicaa would return to

Girl ’s family has spent 15 months in detention since being arrested at their home in Biloela , Queensland. A two-year-old girl who was taken into immigration detention with her family from their home in Biloela has been denied a cake on her birthday . It was her second birthday inside the Melbourne detention centre and the second time visitors were blocked from bringing in a cake to celebrate, despite her father, Nades, going through the required rigorous application process, including submitting a “special purpose food and/or medication request” to Border Force.

"They were considered boat people and they have to leave Australia," Mr O'Dowd said.

In June 2018, the Federal Circuit Court rejected the family's appeal against deportation.

Justice Caroline Kirton found the initial assessment by the Immigration Assessment Authority, which denied refugee status, had been properly conducted.

Justice Kirton also noted that Nades had returned to Sri Lanka on three occasions during the civil war and there was no evidence to suggest his family still living in Sri Lanka was at risk from authorities.

The family were able to remain in Australia while they waited for an appeal to be heard, but that was also lost.

Deportation attempt interrupted

On the night of Thursday, August 29, 2019, the family were removed from the immigration detention centre to be taken to Sri Lanka.

Supporters arrived at Melbourne Airport to protest the imminent deportation, with some gaining access to the tarmac.

An injunction to prevent them from being removed from the country was granted while the plane was en route to Darwin.

The family were then moved to the immigration detention centre on Christmas Island, which was closed in July that year.

Government 'backed into a corner' over asylum seekers, says former Bakhtiari guardian

  Government 'backed into a corner' over asylum seekers, says former Bakhtiari guardian The government's decision to allow a family of asylum seekers to temporarily live in Perth is less about "compassion" and more about being "backed into a corner", says a former guardian of another high profile asylum-seeker family deported nearly two decades ago. Former Centacare Catholic Family Services director Dale West was the guardian to child members of the Bakhtiari family for about 18 months in 2003 until the family's deportation to Pakistan in 2004.

Tharnicaa celebrated her third birthday at the centre — she and her sister are the only children in an Australian immigration detention centre.

Injunctions have prevented the family from being deported while the courts determine whether Tharnicaa is eligible for refugee protection.

Fresh calls to grant visas after Tharnicaa's illness

There are growing calls for the family to be allowed to remain in Australia, or at least to be released back into the community while legal bids continue.

There are specific concerns about the two girls remaining in detention for so long, and the quality of medical care the family is receiving on Christmas Island.

In July 2020, Priya was flown to Perth for medical treatment after experiencing severe abdominal pain and vomiting for two weeks.

Tharnicaa had been unwell for 10 days before she was medically evacuated with a suspected blood infection earlier this week.

Family friend Angela Fredericks said Tharnicaa was being treated for pneumonia, which was believed to have caused the sepsis.

Australian Medical Association WA branch president Andrew Miller cautioned against the child being returned to Christmas Island.

"I think we should be having a long, hard think about whether in a psychological and social sense it is safe to discharge her from hospital back to the environment she came from," Dr Miller said.

Australia deems Sri Lanka safe for Tamils like the Murugappan family from Biloela. But is it?

  Australia deems Sri Lanka safe for Tamils like the Murugappan family from Biloela. But is it? The United Nations, US State Department and European Union say there is ongoing discrimination and violence against Tamils in Sri Lanka — standing in stark contrast to the Australian government's assessment.The Tamil family from Biloela have been moved from Christmas Island to community detention in Perth.

"This was set up to happen by having little children living in an isolated location in lockdown conditions."

Former High Court chief justice Sir Gerard Brennan told the Sydney Morning Herald that cruelty was being inflicted upon Tharnicaa to punish her parents.

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese has said the Minister for Home Affairs has the power to grant the family visas and should do so.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and West Australian Premier Mark McGowan have both called on the federal government to make a decision about the family's residency.

Liberal backbench MPs are reportedly seeking a solution that allows the family to return to the mainland.

Over the years, the family have attracted supporters from across the political spectrum including Labor senator Kristina Keneally, Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce and former radio presenter Alan Joyce.

Federal government not moving on visas

In 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison categorically ruled out ministerial intervention to stop the family's deportation.

As the former immigration minister who formed Australia's "stop the boats" policy, Mr Morrison has maintained a hardline approach to asylum seekers.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews this week said the family were not being considered for resettlement in New Zealand or the United States, despite senior government ministers previously raising the option.

Michael McCormack, who was this week Acting Prime Minister while Mr Morrison was overseas, said the matter was still under consideration by the government and a decision could be made and announced shortly.

Morrison needs to summon courage to act on Biloela family .
There is no defensible argument for why the Murugappan family shouldn't return to Biloela. Not one.Let me be blunt: there is no defensible argument for why the Murugappan family shouldn't return to Biloela. Not one.

usr: 0
This is interesting!