Sign petition to release Biloela family from detention

20 May 2021

Nades and Priya Murugappan are Tamil asylum seekers who settled in the regional Queensland town of Biloela in 2014. Their children, three-year-old Tharunicaa and five-year-old Kopika were born in Biloela and the family were valued and well-loved members of the community.

In March 2018, after asylum claims for Nades, Priya, and Kopika were unsuccessful, the family was removed from Biloela, pending deportation to Sri Lanka. They have been in detention on Christmas Island since August 2019.

Detaining children in a remote offshore location contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a signatory.

The AMA is highlighting the family’s plight and has grave concerns for the health and development of the young children.

Dr Khorshid said, “We are very concerned about the harms being caused to these two young children by being in detention for so long and at such a crucial time in their development,”

“The first 2000 days of life is critical for children, and early childhood experiences have lasting effects.  Continued detention is most likely causing these two little girls avoidable developmental harm.

“The ongoing legal process and associated delays are compounding the harm to these children and prompt resolution of the case one way or the other will be in the interest of all parties, including taxpayers who are funding the extraordinary cost of their detention on Christmas Island,” Dr Khorshid said.

A Senate estimates hearing was told the Immigration Department had spent $4.5 million keeping the family in detention, including $2.5 million in detention costs, $1.1 million in travel, and $300,000 in legal costs.

The AMA is calling for the Murugappan family’s release and I encourage members to sign the petition of doctors calling for the compassionate release of these Australian born children from detention.

To sign the petition click here