Australian activists halt asylum seeker deportation

Australian activists halt asylum seeker deportation

Australian activists halt asylum seeker deportation

A Tamil asylum seeker’s eviction to Sri Lanka was halted by activists in Melbourne on Monday amid fears that his return could endanger his life.

Three airline passengers refused to sit down on the plane until the man in question, Puvaneethan, was allowed to disembark. They had been representing the activist group Refugee Action Collective.

A Department of Immigration and Border Protection spokesperson said the man was eventually returned to Melbourne’s Maribyrnong detention centre. He explained that the routine transfer of the asylum seeker was halted by a group of demonstrators who had boarded the plane; as a result, the transfer did not go ahead.

Chris Peterson, spokesman for the Refugee Action Collective, explained that they were concerned sending Puvaneethan back to Sri Lanka would take him away from his family, friends and any kind of legal support which could, ultimately, lead to his safety being in danger.

It was the second time in two days activists concerned about Australia’s immigration policies hit the headlines, after demonstrators ran on to the court during the Australian Open men’s final on Sunday and unfurled a banner saying “Australia Open for Refugees”, protesting against the “horrific conditions, torture and abuse” that is alleged to occur in the detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

Australia’s conservative government has been widely criticised for its decision to process asylum seekers offshore on Manus Island and the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru. Many refugees are forced to wait years for a response and conditions are said to be so bad that more and more are now attempting to commit suicide.

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