The Indonesian government isaccused of breaching human rights as it continues to deny necessary facilities to the Tamil-speaking refugees kept in a boat in Merak harbour, Indonesia. These people have suffered health problems arising from the lack of toilet and sanitary facilities, as well as from the insufficient food and medical supplies.
Recently the Indonesian government has stopped any visitors from boarding the boat, including the media. This government also stands accused of blocking UNHCR from processing the refugees. The government continues to maintain that it will have to process the refugees before UNHCR is allowed to do so. This has raised suspicion that the Indonesian government may be collaborating with the Sri Lankan government. Quite shamefully the United Nations has made no attempt whatsoever to talk to the governments to resolve the matter.
These refugees need to have their claims for asylum processed by the Australian government. They were intercepted in international water by the Indonesian navy in order to prevent them from getting to Australia. Via its disgraceful scheme, the ‘Indonesian Solution’, Australia is trying to evade its responsibility as a signatory to the UN refugee convention. As Indonesia has not signed this convention and has no international obligations, the Australian government is funding the Indonesian government to intercept and detain refugees who will otherwise be eligible to claim refugee status in Australian. The refugees in Indonesia are kept in horrific camps and denied full freedom of movement. In some cases refugees have been held for more than ten years, which is completely unacceptable.
This appalling treatment of refugees must be condemned. UNHCR, an organisation which is supposed to defend the rights of the refugees, should come forward immediately to speak for the helpless refugees