The "Indonesian Solution" is NO solution

by Enrico Aditjondro June 08, 2010
Public forum on the Tamil asylum seekers fate in Indonesia

Event details


February 16, 2010
from 11:30 PM to 02:00 AM


Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth St (opp Vic Market)

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The Australian Government continues to warehouse refugees in Indonesia, spending millions of taxpayer dollars to avoid its international obligations to allow asylum seekers to seek refuge in Australia. We need an "Australian Solution" to these issues, not to palm off our responsibilities to other countries who can neither afford nor have any obligation to assist asylum seekers and refugees.

This public meeting/forum is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to know more about asylum seeker and refugee issues, and for anyone interested in getting involved with the Refugee Action Collective (Vic).

Saradha Nathan, a Tamil community activist from Sydney, recently visited Indonesia because of concerns about the welfare and future of over 240 Tamils who have spent the last three months on a boat in Merak. Indonesian authorities detained and deported Saradha after falsely stating she had entered the restricted area around the boat in Merak. Saradha will be giving an account of her trip to Indonesia and the appalling conditions that the Tamils are facing in Merak.

Jessie Taylor, lawyer and refugee advocate, will be talking about the conditions of detention of asylum seekers in Indonesia, as well as showing a trailer for the upcoming documentary "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea". See below for an excerpt from Jessie's report, Behind Australian Doors: Examining the Conditions of Detention of Asylum Seekers in Indonesia.

"There is growing concern about the volume of asylum seekers flowing into Indonesia from Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Burma (in particular). Until recently, there had been an almost total media blackout on the subject, but information has seeped through, confirming that Australia is involved in the practice of warehousing asylum seekers (including children and babies) in Indonesia, and that taxpayers’ money is being used to facilitate this practice.

Living conditions for the asylum seekers range from acceptable to appalling. They are administered either by Indonesian immigration authorities and police, or by IOM. Living conditions are (generally) unsanitary, unsafe, isolated and utterly inappropriate for children. Detainees are often denied schooling, appropriate food, medical care and clean water. Detainees suffer malnutrition, depression, anxiety, skin diseases, vomiting and diarrhea, and have been subject to violent beatings by Indonesian authorities.

Australia has provided many millions of dollars of funding over the past few years, through programs facilitated by IOM, among others. Australian taxpayers should not be funding programs which breach our
international obligations to refugees, nor building or renovating centres where human rights violations will occur outside of Australian control.

Australia is substantially responsible for the wellbeing of the asylum seekers being held in Indonesia. Aside from obvious international legal obligations, this may be difficult to prove, if Australia were not involved in financing their detention and imprisonment. However, this financial commitment can easily be interpreted as an assumption of responsibility.

As a Convention signatory, and as the desired destination of the asylum seekers, Australia has obligations to the asylum seekers. Given the small number of people in question, we respectfully submit that immediate resettlement of these asylum seekers ought to be made a priority."

This meeting is organised by the Refugee Action Collective (Vic). For further details/enquiries visit our website or call 0409 252 673.

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