Thursday, 18 February 2010
By Jay Fletcher Green Left Weekly After four months, the conditions on a cargo vessel at Port Merak holding more than 240 Tamil refugees have become increasingly squalid. The refugees’ boat had been travelling towards Australia when the Australian government requested Indonesia intercept it. Almost half of those onboard are United Nations recognised refugees and all are fleeing persecution by the Sri Lankan government. Stuck at Merak, the refugees won’t leave the boat due to Indonesia’s poor treatment of asylum seekers. But Australia won’t help them either. Sara Nathan, a Tamil activist living in Sydney, and Pamela Curr, from Melbourne’s Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, along with Canadian activist Jessica Chandrashekar, visited Indonesia over January 25-29 to try to alleviate the dire situation.