The Human Faces behind the “People Smugglers”

by EM News August 05, 2011
Indonesian Solidarity Forum's public talk on PERSECUTING THE POOR in Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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August 15, 2011
from 07:30 AM to 09:30 AM


Level1, 79 Myrtle St Chippendale, NSW Amnesty International

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People smuggling is a matter of considerable political concern to the Australian government, and has received much attention, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has described smuggling as an ''evil trade'' perpetrated by people ''who seek to profit on human misery''.

In fact the seamen who bring the refugees from Indonesia are desperately poor. Largely they come from fishing communities which once fished freely in waters now claimed by Australia. As a result they are willing to work for the people smugglers.

More than 500 of these poor Indonesian fishermen, of which more than 70 of them claim to be under 18 year old, are locked up and charged with a mandatory sentence for people smuggling of up to 5 year jail. Australia is a signatory of the UN Convention that says the jailing of children is the last option.

The following speakers will address this issue:

Magdalena Sitorus is a long-time activist fighting in Indonesia for the rights of children, was a member of the Indonesian Commission for Child Protection (Komisi Perlindungan Anak Indonesia – KPAI) from 2001 until 2010.The KPAI is an independent institution established according to Presidential regulation number 77 of 2003 and article 74 Law number 23 of 2002 to improve the effectiveness of child protection in Indonesia. Indonesia is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ms Sitorus is currently the head of Friends of Indonesian Children and Women, a non profit human rights organisation to protect children and women.

Gerry Georgatos, PhD Law researcher in Australian Deaths in Custody, is a human rights activist currently advocating for a 16 year-old Indonesian boy currently incarcerated in a WA adult prisons on perceived people smuggling charges, and on behalf of 30 other age-disputes.

Edwina Lloyd is a solicitor from Blair Criminal Lawyers who represents a young Indonesian boy charged with people smuggling as well as adult males charged with people smuggling.

This forum is being organised by Indonesian Solidarity

Further detail please contact Indonesian Solidarity on 0416809107 or 02 92173874

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