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
21.09.17 22:14  
Champoor Tamils’ security, livelihood threatened by US military partnership with genocidal Sri Lanka
20.09.17 23:37   Photo
Sathasivam papers on Sumerian-Tamil connections see the light of day
19.09.17 22:53  
Tamil village in Batticaloa-Polonnaruwa border Sinhalicized by Mahaweli authority, Survey Dept
18.09.17 18:18   Photo
Uprooted people find houses destroyed by SL Navy in Ira'nai-theevu after 2008
17.09.17 22:07  
Muslims oppose Colombo's ‘Sinhala-only’ policy in public administration of Ampaa'rai
16.09.17 23:49  
Families of enforced disappeared want answers, no deceptive bills to genocidal system
15.09.17 23:30   Photo
30th remembrance of Lt Col Thileepan strengthens resolve among Eezham Tamils
14.09.17 22:52   Photo
Sirisena’s Mahaweli ministry twists old records to Sinhalicize Paduvaankarai
13.09.17 16:39  
EPRLF opposes 20A to SL Constitution, ITAK duo wrongs again says Premachandran
12.09.17 23:17   Photo
Alienate lands to Sinhala colonists or face transfer: SL Governor warns Tamil DS in Vanni
11.09.17 12:10  
Risking legal action, Hakeem wants to transfer lands to Hizbulla’s colony in Batticaloa
10.09.17 23:24   Photo
Uprooted fishermen vow to continue their fight for Pa'l'li-munai in Mannaar
09.09.17 23:29  
Mano Ganesan’s NGO Secretariat restricts freedom of organisation in Batticaloa
08.09.17 19:23  
I'rakkaamam Police behaves as occupying Sinhala Force: Muslims
07.09.17 18:03  
SL Attorney General's Dept., TID continue to conspire against Tamil political prisoners
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=30725