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Shout out from the Tamil asylum seekers

October 30, 2009

Press Release - TAMIL ASYLUM SEEKERS IN MERAK SAY IOM IS PRESSURING THEM TO LEAVE THEIR BOAT

Refugee advocates in Australia are concerned that the Australian government may be co-ordinating action to try and force the Tamil asylum seekers in Indonesia to leave their boats.

While media statements this morning refer to the threat to forcibly remove the 78 asylum seekers on the Oceanic Viking, a statement from the 250 Tamil asylum seekers stranded in Merak, Indonesia says that the International
Organisation of Migration (IOM) is pressuring them to leave the ship by cutting their supplies. More 

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  1. Australians for Tamil Justice permalink*
    October 30, 2009 11:24 am

    MEDIA RELEASE

    TAMIL ASYLUM SEEKERS IN MERAK SAY IOM IS PRESSURING THEM TO LEAVE THEIR BOAT

    Refugee advocates in Australia are concerned that the Australian government may be co-ordinating action to try and force the Tamil asylum seekers in Indonesia to leave their boats.

    While media statements this morning refer to the threat to forcibly remove the 78 asylum seekers on the Oceanic Viking, a statement from the 250 Tamil asylum seekers stranded in Merak, Indonesia says that the International
    Organisation of Migration (IOM) is pressuring them to leave the ship by cutting their supplies.

    The statement from the Tamil asylum seekers is printed below.

    ‘Alex” speaking on behalf of the 250 Tamils in Merak, told the Refugee Action Coalition last night, that, “We are united in saying we do not want the IOM here. They are not working for us. They are pressuring us to leave
    the boat.”

    “We have been asking for more fresh water, but they do not bring supplies. All day we have been asking but the little boat used to ferry water to our ship hasn’t moved.”

    “We are asking for the UNHCR or the Red Cross to urgently provide humanitarian assistance,” Alex said.

    The asylum seeker’s appeal has been sent to the UNHCR office in Canberra and the Australian national office of the Red Cross.

    “We are urging the Australian government to intervene to ensure that all the needs of the asylum seekers in Merak are being met. The Australian government is funding the IOM, they should be told to back off pressuring
    asylum seekers to leave the ship,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “Or doesn’t the government’s ‘abundance of patience’ extend to Merak?

    “We are still waiting to see the humane side of the government’s claim to be humane in its treatment of asylum seekers. The Australian government directly intervened to have this boat, on its way to Christmas Island,
    intercepted by the Indonesian government. It was a calculated political decision. This action threatens to condemn the asylum seekers to far worse detention and with the possibility that they will be left in limbo in
    Indonesia for years.

    “The Tamil asylum seekers are Australia’s responsibility – they should be brought to Australia. The government should guarantee that they have a future in Australia. There are relatives waiting for many of the asylum
    seekers on board the boat in Merak.”

    For more information contact Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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