I am proud of Australia: Sri Lankan refugee

My aim was creating awareness and helping all sections of the community to be self-employed and provide training in different skills. I participated in international conferences focusing on minority Tamil peoples’ rights, human rights violations, trade union rights, and social justice.

Sri Lankan refugee and human rights lawyer Ravi* says although he’s proud to be part of the Australian community, the government should strive to replace Norway as the world’s number one country on the Human Development Index.

During college days, I used to participate in debate competitions and community activities. Particularly, I was attracted towards human rights and media activities. After I became a lawyer I joined several non-governmental organisations – trade union sectors and other leading human rights organisations.

I started engaging with Indian Tamil community workers who are considered the most vulnerable working class people in Sri Lanka. My commitment and work towards uplifting the lives of the vulnerable influenced me to voice my concerns. I initially participated in trade union seminars to meet people involved in trade union activities. I also did pro bono legal work for Tamil workers.

My aim was creating awareness and helping all sections of the community to be self-employed and provide training in different skills. I participated in international conferences focusing on minority Tamil peoples’ rights, human rights violations, trade union rights, and social justice. [Because of these activities] I had problems with some persons who seemed to belong to the Sri Lankan Government. Because of this, I travelled to Australia on a legally valid visa.

After I arrived in Australia in 2014, I lodged my protection visa application and I have been granted a Bridging Visa without any problems. Still my case is in the preliminary stages, so I am waiting for the results. But I think I have been accepted by the community. I have to say that Australia has wonderful unity, multiculturalism, equality and, most important, the rules of human rights and humanitarian laws.

I am following a volunteer program right now, and volunteering in a refugee organisation and a community radio station relating to human rights. I am really happy to work with JRS. I am really proud of their services. Now the hub in Parramatta is very useful for the people marked as refugees.

My message for the Australian Government: when you see the latest ‘Human Development Index 2014’ report published by the United Nations, it says Australia is second in the world. This is a wonderful achievement. To Australia, I am proud of it. According to the report Norway is first. I say through my message to the Australian Government, try to be first in the Human Development Index.

*Name changed to protect identity

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