Monday, 18 January 2010

International Protests In Support Of The Merak Tamils

[Geordie accent] It is day one hundred in the Merak Harbour boat and things are not looking too good for the ship mates... it's not a TV reality show, but it might have been better if it was somehow, as the world would be paying it a bit more attention than it currently appears to be.

Yes, today sees the 100th day since the Jaya Lestari was intercepted by the Indonesian navy, at Australia's request. The boat and its 254 Tamil refugee passengers was then towed into West Javan port of Merak to commence a 3 month plus stand-off with the Indonesian authorities. The Tamils have survived monsoons, typhoons, dysentry, an attempted armed raid and the death of one of their number from complications involving a stomach ulcer. They need international pressure to be put on the Australian Government to take responsibility for the situation and provide shelter for the refugees in accord with international treaties.

The worldwide Tamil community have put out an international call to action to hold protest vigils, such as those already organised across Australia and outside Australian consulates in Auckland, Toronto, Washington, London and Malaysia. The London protest will be held at 4:00 pm today at:

Australian High Commission
(corner of the Aldwych and the Strand. Nearest Tube station: Temple)

In recent days the Indonesian government have repeated their threats to end the stand-off with a 'gun-point evacuation' and to send all the Tamils back to Sri Lanka, in direct contravention of international treaties against refoulement. The Indonesians swiftly back-tracked when the threat was made public, even though the Tamils themselves have said they will no longer resist such an attempt.

To see the conditions of the Tamil asylum seekers are being forced to live in, follow the link to a CNN video.

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