Australia

Four-year-old Christmas Island detainee to be escorted to first day of school by guards

Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, inside the Christmas Island Detention Centre. Source: Facebook

The eldest daughter of the Tamil family currently detained on Christmas Island will attend her first day of school on Monday as the court case aiming to stop their deportation continues.

The four-year-old daughter of a Tamil family held in detention on Christmas Island will be escorted to her first day of school by guards. 

Kopika, who has been in immigration detention with her parents, Priya and Nadesalingam, and younger sister Tharunicaa, 2, since March 2018, is very excited about seeing her friends when she starts school on Monday, a family friend and advocate Amanda Fredericks said.

The family were moved from a Melbourne detention centre to the remote island just south of Indonesia in August last year after a legal bid delayed their deportation.

They are the only people currently detained in the centre.

The detained Biloela Tamil family.
The detained Biloela Tamil family.
Supplied

Ms Fredericks said Kopika's mother, Priya, had mixed emotions about the girl's first day of school.

"I know Priya is starting to feel some fear, while at the same time she is really excited to see her little girl start at a safe school," she said.

Kopika's father, Nadesalingam, will be with her and the guards next Monday as authorities have only allowed one parent to attend the school.

Ms Fredericks said not being able to live in the regional Queensland community the family has called home for several years has been heartbreaking. 

Kopika and Tharunicaa were both born in Australia.

The fight to prevent the family from deportation will return to court next month.

The case rests on Tharunicaa and her right to apply for a protection visa. 

The other family members have had their claims rejected.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch