World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Merak Boat 'Alex' Responds to Media Reports

Ian Rintoul
Refugee Action Collective

In response to reports in the Australian media today (Monday), "Alex" has issued the following statement from the asylum boat at Merak:


"Alex” statement from Merak, Indonesia (9 November, 2009):

In response to the information that the Sri Lankan government released about me I have spoken to journalists because I wanted to be open with the people who have supported us.


The Sri Lankan government released the information to try to discredit me, and intimidate the 250 asylum seekers on the boat at Merak, Indonesia. The issue is not any one individual, the issue is the right to asylum for people fleeing danger in Sri Lanka.


We will not be silenced or intimidated. The Sri Lankan government is trying to interfere with our right to have a fair hearing for our claims for asylum in a safe country.


The Sri Lankan government is desperate to divert attention away from its role in human rights abuses, particularly against Tamils in Sri Lanka.


Accusations that I am a people smuggler is completely false. The fact that I lived in Canada for a period of time, and was, removed from Canada has no bearing whatsoever on my claim or the claim of the other 250 people for asylum.


The information released by the Sri Lankan government may also have endangered my family as well as family and friends of other asylum seekers on the boat. We will hold the Sri Lankan government responsible should any harm come to them.


It must be clear that the Sri Lankan government has no respect for human rights or the particular rights of asylum seekers. We trust that the issue of human rights and the rights of asylum seekers is high on the agenda of the Australian delegation visiting Sri Lanka today. The call by National Party leader in Australia for Tamil asylum seekers to be returned to Sri Lanka is ill-informed, reckless and is endangering people’s lives.


The Australian government is a signatory to the Refugee Convention. The Indonesian government is not. We have not even seen a representative of the UNHCR. There is no proper processing or prospect of re-settlement for asylum seekers in Indonesia.


Our claims for asylum should not be subjected to trial by media, by the Sri Lankan government or anyone else. They should be properly dealt with in Australia.


The only just solution to the situation is that all asylum seekers at Merak and the 78 Tamils on the Oceanic Viking be brought to Australia.


Our future is in your hands. On behalf of the people on the boat, I thank you, the people of Australia and all those around the world who are supporting us.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>