NO TO THE INDONESIAN SOLUTION: INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE PROTESTS TO MARK 100
DAYS OF THE MERAK BOAT IN INDONESIA
URGENT ACTION NEEDED FOR AN AUSTRALIAN SOLUTION
Refugee activists around the world will be holding a vigil on Monday the
18th January to support the 250 Tamil asylum seekers stranded on the boat
at Merak, Indonesia.
The vigils’ demands include: No Indonesian solution; Bring the Merak asylum
seekers to Australia; No-offshore processing; Full rights for all asylum
seekers; Close Christmas Island
In Australia, there will be protest vigils in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth –
details of all protests below. There will be protests at Australian
embassies in Canada, New Zealand, and the UK and other actions in Malaysia
and the US.
January 18 marks 100 days since the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
called the Indonesian president to request that Merak Tamil asylum seekers
be intercepted and returned to Indonesia.
“That Indonesian authorities allowed Sri Lankan government officials to
interrogate Tamil refugees in detention cells in Jakarta has highlighted
why there must be an Australian solution for the Merak asylum seekers.
Their rights as refugees cannot be guaranteed in Indonesia. Kevin Rudd
should never have made that call,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the
Refugee Action Coalition.
“The reports that some local Indonesian authorities are considering using
force to make the Merak refugees disembark has added to the urgency that
Australian be a part of the processing and resettlement of the Merak boat
Refugee advocates are expecting that a proposal from the Indonesian
government to resolve the situation at Merak may be put forward later this
Refugee groups in Indonesia and Australia, along with the Merak asylum
seekers have put forward a number of minimum demands required for a
resolution of the stand-off. They include, (i) legal aid for immigration
verification on the boat; (ii) guarantee of no detention if they disembark;
(iii) immediate access to UNHCR; (iv) no information to be shared with Sri
Lanka and no deportation.
The protests in Australia will also be calling for the government to come
clean on the adverse security findings against the four Tamils on the
“We need to know that basis of those findings and whether the Sri Lankan
government had any input into ASIO decision,” said Ian Rintoul.
“Chris Evan’s has said that that they do not represent a threat to
Australian society. So why are they being held incommunicado on Christmas
Island? They should be allowed immediate access to lawyers so their legal
rights are guaranteed.”
For media enquiries in Australia Ian Rintoul + 61 417 275 713 or Sara
Nathan + 61 412 236 703
Sydney: 12:30 - 1:30 pm. Kevin Rudd's office, 70 Phillip Street Sydney.
Newcastle(NSW): 4:30pm. At the Clock Tower, Beaumont St, Hamilton
Melbourne: 5:30 pm outside the State Library, Cnr Swanston/Latrobe Streets,
Perth, 12.30pm, Office of the Immigration Minister Chris Evans.
51 Ord Street, West Perth.
New Zealand, Auckland. 4:00 PM. Australian Consulate, 186-194 Quay St,
Canada, Toronto: 11am - 2pm. Australian Consulate, 175 Bloor Street,
UK, London: 4:00 PM. The Australian High Commission, Strand, London WC2B 4LA
USA: Email and postcard campaign
Malaysia: Email and postcard campaign