Force will be used if needed to evict refugees says Indonesia

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 January 2010, 17:25 GMT]
Jakarta will use any means necessary to end a standoff between authorities and a boat of Tamil refugees senior officials revealed on Wednesday, two days after authorities allowed Sri Lankan official’s access to several refugees being detained in an Indonesian detention centre.

Senior immigration official Harry Puwanto said he believed ex LTTE cadres on maybe on board the “Jeya Lestari” and hiding amongst 250 refugees who have refused to leave the ship until Australia grants them asylum, three months since the vessel was intercepted by the Indonesian Navy upon request of Australia.

"Many of them want to get off, but a small number of militants don't want to, and many of the others are frightened because this small group are Tamil Tigers, according to military intelligence," Mr Purwanto alleged.

"This is our nation, so why can't we (use force) in the name of our sovereignty? “ Purwanto said, blaming Australia for the stalemate after it refused to grant asylum to those on board.

The developments appear to confirm fears held by human rights groups over the possibility of violence being used against the asylum seekers, compounded last month when Indonesian navy boats attempted to storm the ship according to media reports.

Calls for international intervention over Jakarta’s handling of the situation intensified earlier this week after reports alleged that Sri Lankan officials were granted access to a group of refugees, where they were threatened with deportation to the Boosa Prison in Sri Lanka.


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