“Talking Tamil, Talking Saivism: Language practices in a Tamil Hindu temple in Australia” by Nirukshi Perera

Nirukshi (Niru) Perera has completed her PhD at the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University (Melbourne, Australia).

The thesis  – Talking Tamil, Talking Saivism: Language practices in a Tamil Hindu temple in Australia – is available to read here.

Sum up

Hinduism is growing in its influence and significance both in Australia and internationally. The development of India as a superpower and the rise of Hindu nationalism in India are indicators of this growing influence.

In Australia all censuses since 2001 point to Hinduism as the fastest-growing non-Christian religion yet the phenomena of Hinduism in Australia is relatively under researched. Furthermore, non-white immigration and multiculturalism are once more under the spotlight in Australia with the government’s proposed changes to the English language requirements for citizenship, and with the recent release of the 2016 census results. The figure for the number of people who speak Tamil at home has grown by 45% since the 2011 census, and is now approximately 74,000 people. This means that for the part of the Australian population that speaks a language other than English at home, Tamil is the 13th top language.

Therefore, this research is a timely report on the experiences of Sri Lankan migrants and a focus on the role that language and religion play in their lives in Australia and in the formation of identities for the second- and third- generation. In fact, this is the first thesis to focus on the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Australia.

Niru conducted an ethnographic study in a Tamil Hindu temple to investigate what languages are used in the temple space and to show how the temple, as a religious institution, is helping migrants to maintain and transmit the Tamil language and Saiva religion to the next generation.

The study found that the temple has a positive influence on the development of young Tamils’ religious, ethnic and linguistic identities and it provides a safe space for children to use Tamil in a new way. This new way is termed “translanguaging” and it allows for children to use all their languages often resulting in speech that mixes Tamil and English. While English is generally their stronger language, their use of Tamil in translanguaging is evidence of the significant influence of their heritage religion and culture in their contemporary Australian lives.

“Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers: Reflections from visit to Sri Lanka” by Rebecca Lim

We can’t have it both ways. We know we are sending some people back to danger but there is no monitoring or political will to ensure their safety and positive reintegration. The Sri Lankan government has its own challenges to re-build its economy and to ensure security and safety for its people, including returnees and deportees from abroad. A network of support for this group of vulnerable people is needed to alleviate fears and provide economic support.

via: http://groundviews.org/2015/04/20/australias-treatment-of-asylum-seekers-reflections-from-visit-to-sri-lanka/

“Tamil asylum seeker held at sea wasn’t asked basic questions, high court hears” by Ben Doherty

“”In the case of the 157 Tamil asylum seekers, customs officials asked no questions about the asylum seekers’ safety in India or reasons for leaving Sri Lanka. They asked only “brief biographical details,” the court heard.

Ron Merkel QC, acting for the asylum seekers, told the court sending the Tamils back to India, where they had no right to be registered as refugees, no work rights, or access to health or education services, was a breach of international law. The asylum seekers also faced the risk of being sent back to Sri Lanka from India.””

via: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/oct/14/tamil-asylum-seeker-held-at-sea-wasnt-asked-basic-questions-high-court-hears

“First Batch of Army Recruits from Jaffna to Pass Out on Sept.20” by News.lk

Asylum seekers who sought protection in Australia and were returned to Sri Lanka say they have been tortured, in new claims aired on SBS.

In an SBS Dateline program aired on Tuesday night two asylum seekers – known as Bhanu and Narada – made allegations they had been tortured after being returned to Sri Lanka from Australia.

via: http://www.news.lk/news/sri-lanka/item/3001-first-batch-of-army-recruits-from-jaffna-to-pass-out-on-sept-20

“Sydney University bows to request from Sri Lankan military and police” by Oliver Laughland

The University of Sydney has withdrawn invitations for two Sri Lankan human rights organisations to an international conference at the request of the Sri Lankan military, angering campaigners.

via: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/sydney-university-bows-to-request-from-sri-lankan-military-and-police

“Abbott Government Must Deny Extremist Entry to Australia” by The Greens (Australia)

Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne has called on the Abbott government to deny an extremist alleged to have masterminded anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka entry to Australia.

Gnanasara Thero, who has been instrumental in inciting hatred against religious minorities in Sri Lanka and who is the General Secretary of the extremist Bodu Bala Sena sect, has applied for a visa and intends to tour Australia. Gnanasara Thero has reportedly been denied entry to the UK, France and the US.

via: http://greens.org.au/node/5619

“Sri Lankan asylum seekers arrive in Australia after weeks held at sea” by Reuters

SYDNEY, July 28 (Reuters) – A group of 157 migrants, thought to be Sri Lankan asylum seekers, arrived at a detention camp in Australia, government officials said on Monday, after having been held at sea by authorities for almost a month.

via: http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/07/28/sri-lanka-australia-asylum-idINL4N0Q31E920140728

“High-seas prison for 150 Tamils” by Michael Gordon

“More than 150 asylum seekers are being held behind locked doors on a customs ship, in rooms without windows and with no idea where they are or where the Abbott government plans to take them.”

via: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/highseas-prison-for-150-tamils-20140716-3c1o2.html

“Asylum seekers will be handed to police on return, Sri Lanka confirms” by Paul Farrell, Oliver Laughland and Melissa Davey

Labor, the Greens, Clive Palmer and a group of 53 legal experts have called on the federal government to reveal how asylum seekers are being assessed on board customs vessels, as the Sri Lankan government confirmed that 41 asylum seekers being returned via an unprecedented on-water transfer to the Sri Lankan navy will be handed to the police when they arrive back.

via: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/07/asylum-seekers-will-be-handed-to-police-on-return-sri-lanka-confirms

“Australia at risk of returning asylum seekers to danger in Sri Lanka” by Refugee Council of Australia

Opens PDF: Statement from Refugee Council of Australia.

“Australia risks committing the most flagrant of all breaches under the Refugee Convention if it removes Tamil asylum seekers off Christmas Island to Sri Lanka without investigating their claims for refugee status, the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) said today.”

“Australia promises to give 72 hours notice before returning Sri Lanka asylum seekers” by Straits Times

SYDNEY (REUTERS) – Australia promised on Tuesday not to return a boatload of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka without providing 72 hours notice, a move hailed by human rights lawyers as a minor victory in a case that has raise concerns about the country’s tough immigration policy.

via: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/australianew-zealand/story/australia-promises-give-72-hours-notice-returning-sri-lanka-asy#sthash.iIXVUegI.dpufhttp://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/australianew-zealand/story/australia-promises-give-72-hours-notice-returning-sri-lanka-asy

source: www.straitstimes.com

“The life and awful death of a Tamil asylum seeker in Australia” by Oliver Laughland

“Out in the living room, in this small, shared house in Geelong, Victoria, a shrine sits on the dining table. A wreath of white roses, chrysanthemums and daisies circles a framed photo of the 29-year-old Tamil asylum seeker, who set himself on fire on 31 May. A glass of milk and a glass of water sit – full to the brim – next to the flowers, left behind for Seemanpillai’s spirit to sip, according to a friend. He is the second Tamil asylum seeker to self-immolate in Australia over the past year – the first survived. Seemanpillai died on 1 June.”

via: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/05/the-life-and-awful-death-of-a-tamil-asylum-seeker-in-australia

source: www.theguardian.com

“Australia asylum seekers find refuge in cricket” by Phil Mercer

“Ocean 12 are sporting warriors like no other. Padded up and steeled for action in a suburban league in Sydney, the team is made up of Tamil asylum seekers competing for a place in the finals of a global cricket competition.”

via: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27498287

source: www.bbc.com

“Sri Lanka Tamils subjected to horrific abuse after 2009 civil war, says report” by Paul Farrell

“Horrifying details of sexual and physical abuse, including forced oral sex, anal rape and water torture, have been documented in a new report on Sri Lanka’s treatment of Tamils after the end of the 2009 civil war, which includes testimony from returned asylum seekers and raises further questions about Australia’s deportation of Tamils.”

via: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/21/sri-lanka-tamils-subjected-to-horrific-abuse-after-2009-civil-war-says-report

The full report with witness testimonies can be downloaded from here: http://www.stop-torture.com/

“Manus Island detention centre inhuman, violates prohibition against torture: Amnesty International” by Conor Duffy

Manus Island’s detention centre has been described as cruel, inhuman, degrading and violating prohibitions against torture in a detailed report by Amnesty International.

via: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-11/manus-island-violates-prohibition-against-torture-amnesty/5150664

source: www.abc.net.au