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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Letter From a man in Indefinite Detention

Here is a letter that was given to me by one of the men who has been in detention in Australia for longer than 4 years. He was a journalist in Sri Lanka. I have known him for almost 2 years now, he is a wonderful man, smart, funny, hardworking, - exactly the kind of person Australia needs.

We Tamils left our country , Sri Lanka , we had to flee from the violence as it was not safe to remain
there; becasue of the armed forces. Leave our country, that we called home, was indeed a very difficult
decision that we had to make ,Some of us in making this decision, had to leave out wives and
children, with a few pregnant. More over, everyone had to leave their parents, and extended family,
braving the might of the Ocean, not sure whether we would reach our destination, or just another
addition to the count; lives lost at sea.
Fortunately, by the grace of God, or an act of faith, we reached this promised land, culled Australia
in the hope of finding safety and security. We were glad that we were accepted as refugees, and
dreamt that we would them be granted a visa. However, for 53 Tamil clients; this dream, has turned
out to be mental torture. ASIO had assessed us as being a securing risk, and we would like to pose
the question to the Australian government, to whom? Sadly , most of us have been in detention for
four, or more years, with no reason given to us, how we were assessed as a security risk.
I would like to ask ASIO, to give me the reasons, how they have assessed me to be a security risk. If
they can provide me with a valid reason, I am prepared to accept it,and to be put in jail, if I am a
genuine thereat to the people of Australia.
I and my friends have been held in detention for so long, that we have developed a routine
pattern. We are awake all night, whilst some of us go to bed, tossing and turning, despite taking a
cocktail of drags to keep our sanity, we sleep as much as four hours, and traverse from our
accommodation to another building, back and forth; like zombies, and cannot comprehended what,
all this means to the powers, that keep us in this state.
The continued detention is affecting, us physically, mentally and psychologically. We not only have
to cope with detention, a from of torture, we have to meet the challenges of our families. Whilst we
remain in detention, we are unable to provide food for our families, the love of a husband to his
wife and children, as well as to our parents. Every time we ring and speak to our loved ones, we
cannot explain why we are still in detention. These phone calls generate very heart felt feelings on
both sides, that our difficult to explain in words; except to say, our voices are choked with pain, and
many a sleepless night. Our phone calls to our families bring about thoughts of suicide, some have
attempted through kindly words of been prevented through kindly words of caring officers.
However , human beings have a limit to their tolerance, and suicide would be the only means to end
this mental torture.
The Australian government in response to the High court decision, took three months to appoint a
Jude,to review the “Negative Assessment “given by ASIO. The review is not based on law or a
directive of the High Court, but another ploy of the government, to be seen to be doing something;
but doing nothing. The Judge Margarent Stone, has no powers to make any decisions, only make
recommendations to be considered by ASIO. There is no time frame for this Review; it could be an
indefinite process, and our lives will be in limbo, with continued detention. Therefore, we will be
left we no alternative, but to find a solution; “ death will be sweeter” than continued detention.
Hence, dear friends, there is one way you could help us; you need to have a grass-roots movement
that will grow to hold meetings in every state, attended by thousands.
Friends, you have a window of opportunity to send a message to the government and the
opposition, that they need to reach bi-partisan Agreement, and released us to into the community, as
a first step, with working rights; a Bridging visa. If not send a clear message to these parties ; that
all the marginal seats will be targeted, with support for the Greens, who have tirelessly and
consistently cared about the Rights of Refugees.

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