UPDATE 6/5/2020: A GoFundMe Page has been set up. You can also donate through church channels if you prefer to do so (see below).
We have reported in the past (here and here on the plight of a Sri Lankan asylum seeker family who were caught up in an unfortunate series of events that saw the husband and father held in immigration detention. As we write, he is still in detention.
“Brother A” and his family came to Australia on 3 August 2013, seeking refuge in the country. They were placed in detention and on 15 January 2015 were released into the community on bridging visas awaiting their refugee visa application to be processed.
They lived a happy life trying to integrate into Australian society. In the meantime their third child was born in June 2015. Only a week after their baby boy was born the father was arrested by police on charges he categorically denied. After he was arrested his bridging visa was cancelled on 1 July 2015 and he remained in prison until the charges against him were dropped on the 23 September 2016.
Had the criminal charges not been brought against him, there would have been no obstacle to Bro A remaining in the community and he would have been granted a refugee visa in due course. However, whilst the charges were eventually dropped, this changed his status in the eyes of the Department, and on the same day he was taken from the prison to the Adelaide Immigration Transit Accommodation where he is currently being held separated from his family.
Bro A had legal representation to deal with his criminal charges and according to the law he is innocent. He also had legal representation with his immigration proceedings, all the way to the High Court of Australia. Despite the High Court upholding Bro A’s case, the Immigration Assessment Authority has still refused to revisit their decision upholding the Immigration Minister’s original decision not to grant a refugee visa to the family.
Our local pastors have personally assisted the family to find legal representation and supported them to go through all this difficult time. They currently still face an uncertain future and with the family being separated for so long time it is inexplicably difficult for the couple and their children. It affects their education and cripples their everyday life. Two of their children are attending school and the second to last child, kindergarten.
We have been informed by the court that Bro A’s next hearing will be on the 26th of May, 2020. Unfortunately JusticeNet has also informed us that they can’t find a lawyer to take his case on pro bono. We have spoken with a lawyer who helped in October with the appeal. The initial fee she charges for a barrister to look at the case is $2,000, and if the Barrister sees it possible to succeed then it could cost up to $15,000. If not, then there is no chance for them to stay.
It is felt that God brought them here for a reason, not to just send them back, but unfortunately we don’t have that kind of money. Money is scarce at the moment with the economic situation as it is, but perhaps there is someone praying to God to show them where to spend their money for a good purpose.
If you are moved to help toward the legal expenses to help this family be reunited, please contact Br Joe Voncina at the Union Office on 02 9627 7553. We thank you for your prayers and support.