Imagine fleeing your country after decades of war, only to arrive in a safe country and be locked up, then deported after years in immigration detention.
This is the reality for our friend Sanjay (not his real name), a Tamil Sri Lankan who in the words of his friend, comedian Tom Ballard, 'is a beautiful person who has been treated cruelly by the Australian detention regime'.
After more than 4 years in immigration detention, Sanjay's dreams of peace and freedom are over and we want to help him face an uncertain future.
Earlier this year, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said:
"They [Tamils] can come back to Sri Lanka and we will help them," he said.
"But remember, they broke the law by attempting to come to Australia."
Human Rights groups question their safety, citing:
* no change in the country’s laws regarding returned asylum seekers.
* the setting up of a missing persons office in 2016, but not one of the estimated 20,000 found;
* a 2015 Truth Commission making little headway, with the government blaming extremists from both Sinhala and Tamil sides.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
While we haven't been able to stop people being sent back to danger, we can help them to rebuild their lives.
Our friend Sanjay is facing that challenge as soon as next month. He is in poor health and lost several family members (including his parents) during and after the war.
Sanjay is well-known among Melbourne's detention centre visitors who love and respect his warmth, resourcefulness and the way he makes the best out of every situation.
We want to do whatever we can to help Sanjay return safely, regain his health and rebuild his life.
You can join us
'I've been lucky enough to get to know Sanjay through visiting him in detention.
He is a beautiful person who has been treated cruelly by the Australian detention regime.
Please give whatever you can to help him rebuild his life in Sri Lanka; it's the least we can do.'
Comedian and Friend
Any donation, small or large, will help Sanjay put the trauma of war and years in Australia's detention system behind him.
He needs medical care, somewhere to live and time to find work.
Anything over our target will be sent to other Tamil friends who have recently been deported.