A Tamil man who missed the arbitrary Fast Track deadline set by the Minister of Immigration, is being deported to Sri Lanka today.
The man known as ‘Rajah’ called pro bono lawyers at Sydney’s Refugee Advice and Case Work Service (RACS) at 11am this morning, saying that Australian Border Force were taking him to Sydney airport for deportation.
Raja fled Sri Lanka’s north and is in his early 20s. He arrived in Australia by boat more than 5 years ago. Raja missed the deadline to lodge his claim because he couldn’t access legal representation at the time.
Lawyers at RACS filed an application for him after the deadline. The Minister refused to accept the application and assess his claims.
As recently as March this year, the UN reported serious concerns that Sri Lankan security and police forces are still committing gross abuses of human rights including torture, excessive force, making arbitrary arrests and disrespecting due legal process. This is what the Minister may be returning Raja to.
RACS lawyers have contacted the UN to request an intervention under the Convention Against Torture, as Raja faces the possibility of torture upon return to Sri Lanka.
The UN would make an assessment of the case and advise Australia on deportation risk. The deportation of Raja is going ahead without this assessment.
Acting principal solicitor Noosheen Mogdam said, “Raja should be afforded with the opportunity to have his claim heard if this has not occurred.”
“The October deadline has resulted in rushed applications completed with limited legal assistance, as well as, a number of asylum seekers missing the deadline altogether because of barriers to legal assistance.”
Detention Advocacy Manager, Natasha Blucher said, “In Australia we value human life and we value fairness, just legal processes as well as security and safety for everyone.”
“The Minister’s Fast Track policy goes against these fundamental values and discriminates against people based on their mode of arrival and inability to meet unreasonably placed deadlines”.
The ASRC will continue to advocate for a fair and reasonable application process for people seeking asylum and stand against the forced return of people seeking our protection to harm.