Story of Danush
Australia (Sri Lanka)
Danush*, 31, a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee, finally tasted freedom after being detained for almost eight years. He spent more than six years on Manus Island before being brought to Australia for mental health treatment under "Medevac laws." According to this law, asylum seekers and refugees were flown into Australia from Manus and Nauru. This law thus gave doctors more power over whether refugees and asylum seekers should come to the country for medical treatment.
Danush* was detained for a further 16 months at the Park Hotel and then at an onshore immigration center before his release last year. He is still getting used to the idea of being free. "The freedom is amazing, wonderful — but unfortunately I lost 8 years of my life".
He is now on a six-month bridging visa which lets people stay lawfully in Australia. At the same time, one makes arrangements to leave, finalise their immigration matter or wait for an immigration decision. While he is trying to find a job and a place to live, his thoughts are with those still detained. "They, too, must be released," he said.