Indonesian commandos attempt raid on refugee boat

[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 December 2009, 11:19 GMT]
Politicians and human rights groups have slammed Indonesia after claims that several high speed navy ships surrounded a boat carrying 250 Tamils docked at the Indonesian port of Merak and tried to storm the boat in an attempt to end a tense standoff that has lasted almost 8 weeks.



The refugees, including several women and children, were intercepted by the Indonesian Navy at the request of the Australian Government en route to Christmas Island and have refused to leave the boat since October 11th until Australia grants them asylum.

Reports claim that 20-25 Navy flotilla surrounded the boat in the early hours of Thursday morning before several heavily armed commandos made a failed attempt to board the vessel amid fear and chaos.

Sanjeev "Alex" Kuhendrarajah, a refugee on board who has become the unofficial spokesperson for those on board rejected claims by the Indonesian authorities that the incident was a training exercise with no intention of harm.

"We believe they're making false claims and they were trying to do something” he told Australian media, calling it an act of an intimidation designed to force retaliation.

Refugee advocates in Australia have cited the incident as evidence that the long held fears that Indonesia would use violence to force the refugees off the boat is manifesting, and are urging Prime Minister Rudd and global bodies to intervene and provide safety to the refugees.

"The Indonesian navy is either preparing to remove people from the boat or is intimidating very vulnerable people," said Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC), who has been in contact with those on boat from the early stages of the standoff.

"Kevin Rudd must guarantee their safety” he told the Australian media.

Condemnation has been widespread, with Member of European Parliament Joe Higgins expressing disgust at the incident.

“I am appalled to learn of this intimidation that has been carried out against these most vulnerable people. I stand in solidarity with the Tamil-speaking refugees on the boat and urge the Australian and Indonesian governments to find a resolution in favour of the refugees’ very modest demands immediately” he reportedly said.

The Australian Government has yet to comment on the incident.


Chronology:


Related Articles:
02.12.09   Australians slam 'Indonesian Solution'
15.10.09   Tamil refugees in Indonesian port begin hunger strike

 

Latest 15 Reports
23.07.16 23:09  
Ethnic discrimination in student enrollment exposes reconciliation farce: Tamil academic
22.07.16 19:47   Photo
Tamil student leaders in Jaffna condemn SL Governor Cooray’s remarks in Colombo
21.07.16 01:26  
University engineers not learning lessons
21.07.16 00:21   Photo
Tamil politicians blame SL Military for enticing Sinhala students with triumphalist chauvinism
20.07.16 16:39   Photo
Tamil fishermen rise up against Colombo's move to permanently militarise Pa'l'li-munai in Mannaar
20.07.16 15:21   Photo
NPC demands CoI to go beyond criminal investigations on Jaffna University clash
19.07.16 23:15  
Sinhala-Tamil student clash in Jaffna exposes dangerous proportions of military occupation
18.07.16 18:01   Photo
‘SL President sanctioning 67-feet Buddha statue off Jaffna is act of aggression’
17.07.16 23:46  
Eastern University instructs assaulted Tamil student to attend investigations in Colombo
16.07.16 13:37   Photo
SL military-backed Sinhala students clash with Tamil students in Jaffna University
15.07.16 23:51   Photo
Encouraged by US appeasement, SL military strengthens genocidal grip on North
14.07.16 23:52  
SL Commander of 58 Division twists lists at Mullaiththeevu Magistrates’ Court
13.07.16 23:31   Photo
SL military deployed to rob material remains of houses in Valikaamam North ‘HSZ’ 
12.07.16 13:10   Photo
Colombo demonstrates military diktats over resettlement in Jaffna after Geneva ‘update’
11.07.16 23:03   Photo
Sinhala goons, monk erect Buddha statue by force at coastal Tamil village in East
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=30725