Socialist Party National Organiser and refugee activist Anthony Main recently visited the 254 Tamil refugees stranded on board the boat in Merak, Indonesia.
Anthony was invited to the boat by the refugees who have been frustrated that the media have been denied access to them for more than a week. He was accompanied by representatives from the Indonesian trade union movement and human rights lawyers.
His visit was reported in the Australian press:
“An Australian refugee activist who boarded the boat yesterday with Indonesian trade unionists and human rights lawyers described conditions as deplorable.
Anthony Main said they heard complaints of inhuman treatment, with many asylum seekers having malaria and complaining that the Indonesian navy would not allow them medical treatment.
Mr Main, the Socialist Party’s national organiser, said the group delivered urgently needed supplies to the asylum seekers, including tarpaulins to protect them from worsening weather and fuel for a generator.”
See full article: Share asylum burden, Indonesians plead
Anthony also said “The way Rudd is treating these people is despicable. After doing a dirty deal with the Indonesian government Rudd wants to try and isolate them and hide the issue from the Australian public.”
“These people are now aware of the deal that the Australian government did with the refugees who were on board the Oceanic Viking. What they are asking for, at the least, is similar treatment.
“After giving support to the murderous Rajapaksa regime Rudd now wants to wash his hands of the problems facing the Tamils in Sri Lanka. These people have made clear that if they are deported back to Sri Lanka their lives will be in danger. Rudd needs to act quickly and allow these people safe passage to Australia.”
By Socialist Party reporters