A 30-year-old Tamil asylum seeker, Thileepan, faces permanent separation from his wife and 10-month-old daughter in Australia after receiving a deportation notice on Friday. He has been told to be ready to leave at 9am on Monday from Villawood Detention Centre.
Crikey understands Thileepan’s wife and daughter were granted Safe Haven Enterprise visas on Thursday last week, a day before he was told his deportation was imminent.
Lawyer Kajaliny Ranjith said, “I understand he’s already exhausted all his avenues in Australia, but there is a 10-month-old child with a right to a father. She has a right to both parents.
“There is nothing to show there is family violence so even in the Family Law Act, which is entrenched in Australian law, a child has the right to both parents, and the child should have relationship with both parents. Sending him back would take that away from the child.”
As Thileepan’s wife and child are both on Safe Haven visas, they are unable to sponsor him to return, meaning they will be separated for the foreseeable future if he is deported today.
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Ranjith confirmed Thileepan’s wife, who is not being named, can’t go back to Sri Lanka, as she’s been “proven to be persecuted”.
The Tamil Refugee Council says Thileepan arrived in Australia in June 2012, after fleeing Sri Lanka. They claim a group of men had taken him from his house to an office of the Sri Lankan security forces. They also claim he was blindfolded, hands tied, and interrogated about his knowledge of arms and money stored by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, an organisation militarily defeated in 2009 that was fighting for an independent Tamil homeland.
The TRC also claim he was kicked, beaten with a coconut tree branch and had pins jammed into his fingernails. Thileepan, unable to bear the pain, reportedly admitted to being an LTTE member. He was later allegedly dumped, still blindfolded, on the side of the road.
According to the TRC, after returning home, Thileepen’s mother arranged for him to leave the country, selling her land. His father and older brother both died in the war and his remaining sibling is missing. His wife arrived in Australia separately, in September 2012. They were married in 2016 in a religious ceremony and had a daughter in September last year.
Crikey submitted questions to Home Affairs this morning asking, amongst other things, why Thileepan was being deported when his wife and child had been granted Safe Haven visas last week. We informed Home Affairs that our deadline was 10am and did not hear back.