A young Tamil asylum seeker is fighting for life in a Sydney hospital after setting himself on fire because his application for a protection visa was rejected by the Immigration Department.
Reports are the man finished a three-hour cleaning shift at Balmain’s shipping yards last night, then went outside, doused himself with petrol and tried to take his own life.
Tamil Refugee Council spokesman Trevor Grant says the man is in a critical condition in Sydney’s Concord Hospital, with burns to most of his body.
“There is some hope that he may survive,” he said.
“They’re trying desperately to get his 65-year-old mother to Australia to be at his bedside, along with his brother.
“But he’s already had a number of surgeries, skin grafts etc., and he’s apparently going to have more today.”
According to the government the young man had arrived in Australia in June 2012 and was released into the community on a bridging visa in October.
In July 2013 he was found not to be owed protection and this decision was affirmed on appeal by the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) earlier this month.
Mr Grant says the young man is one of many asylum seekers terrified of being sent home.
“This is really an inevitable outcome of a policy that is purposely designed to create suffering in order to deter people,” he said.
“This man has been one of some 20,000 in the community.
“They’re undergoing psychological torture not knowing what’s happening to them, living in fear every day of being returned to danger.”
The civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009 after almost 26 years.
As is often the case around the world the roots of the conflict lie with the colonisation of the area known as Sri Lanka by the British.
The Tamil ethnic minority were fighting for an independent state Tamil Eelam, against the Sinhalese majority.
The Tamils lost the war and are still persecuted today.
“Three deceptive years after the first LLRC based US resolution, Tamils from the occupied homeland and the diaspora, with the support of the Tamil Nadu solidarity movement, clearly defined our problem as genocide and called for total liberation. We are changing the terms of the debate imposed on us and unambiguously call for a political solution that respects our peoples sovereign nationhood. In the coming year we will need to intensify our efforts and work closely with global civil society to end the occupation, the settlements, and secure the release of political prisoners/prisoners of war. Our work is cut out for us. We will assert our peoples rights. We will win.” ~ Krisna Saravanamuttu
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in September 2013 that there had been no comprehensive Sri Lankan effort to properly and independently investigate allegations of war crimes. The High Commissioner said she would recommend the Human Rights Council to set up its own probe if Sri Lanka does not show more “credible progress by March 2014.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted for a resolution paving the way for an inquiry into rights abuses at the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war.
The United States and the United Kingdom were among the countries, which sponsored a resolution that is for the first time calling for an international probe.
The Australian government (Labour and Coalition) continue to deny the genocide of Tamil people.
They have adopted the position that the Tamils were the aggressors, they lost the war and must now accept life among the Sinhalese majority.
However the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal found –
“On the strength of the evidence presented, the tribunal reached the consensus ruling that the state of Sri Lanka is guilty of the crime of genocide against Eelam Tamils and that the consequences of the genocide continue to the present day with ongoing acts of genocide against Eelam Tamils”, or those living in the north and east of the country.
Channel Four documentary revealing the truth which the Sri Lankan government tried to cover up.
‘Five years ago Dr Varatharajah Thariajah was given his freedom in exchange for refuting war crimes allegations against the Sri Lankan government. Today he tells Channel 4 News a different story.’