On the 15th of January 2013, a child was born in captivity in Australia and we do not know when he, his mother or his brothers will be released.
You've probably heard Ranjini's story.
Ranjini is a Tamil asylum seeker who arrived in Australia in 2010. Shortly before Mothers Day last year, Ranjini and her two sons, aged 6 and 9 years, were separated from Ranjini's husband Ganesh, removed from the community and placed in detention at Villawood. Ranjini and her children have remained locked up since then.
The reason? Like over 60 other asylum seekers, Ranjini received an 'adverse assessment' by ASIO, yet has not been told the reason for the assessment, as explained by Julian Burnside in this article .
In October last year, a High Court ruling forced the government to introduce changes to its security assessment procedures to allow external review. Former Federal Court judge Margaret Stone was appointed as an independent assessor to re-examine cases where asylum seekers are given an adverse security assessment. However, Stone's decisions are not binding and ASIO retains the final say. There are also concerns that Stone's terms of reference limit her capacity for independence.
So Ranjini and her two sons, Kumaran and Kathiravan, have remained in detention since May last year. Her case is still to be reviewed under the new rules.
On 15 January 2013, Ranjini gave birth to her third child, a boy named Paartheepan (meaning 'lighting of the world'). Will Paartheepan, like his brothers, grow up behind bars, not knowing when, if ever, he will feel freedom?
Please take action
1. Write to Attorney General Nicola Roxon, your local Federal MP and anyone you can find who will listen to Ranjini's story. Here are two inspiration letters that you could use as a guide: this letter by Naomi Homel , or this one by Robyn Oyeniyi .
2. Write a letter or card of support to Ranjini, and find out more, through Letters for Ranjini . So far they have received letters from over 200 people.