Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Melbourne: Protest in solidarity with the Merak refugees

Reading Time: 2 minutes

100 days and counting…Time for Rudd to act!

As part of an international day of action, the Tamil community and a range of progressive groups will be holding a protest at 5.30pm Monday January 18th outside the State Library in Melbourne. (Corner of Swanston and Latrobe Streets in the City)

The protests are demanding that the 254 Tamil refugees, currently in Merak (Indonesia), be allowed to come to Australia.

As part of the government’s alleged ‘Indonesian Solution’, Kevin Rudd personally requested that the Indonesian Navy intercept the boat to stop the people from entering Australian waters. His aim was to sub contract the problem out to Indonesia.

For nearly 100 days now the refugees have refused to leave the boat for fear of being locked up in an Indonesian detention centre or being sent back to Sri Lanka.

The refugees are rightly demanding that they be afforded their basic human rights and that Australia, as a signatory of the UN Refugee Convention, adhere to its international responsibilities.

The refugees want nothing more than to be offered the same deal as those who were on board the Australian customs vessel, the Oceanic Viking.

Already one man has died on the boat due to a lack of medical care and the negligence of the Indonesian Navy and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). It’s time for Rudd to act quickly before more lives are lost due to his failed ‘Indonesian Solution’.

The Socialist Party stands by the 254 Tamil refugees and salutes their brave struggle. We call on all our members and supporters to attend this important protest.


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