The arrest of Saradha Nathan, Jessica and Pamella in Merak by the Indonesian government has been widely condemned today.
Ign Mahendra, chairperson of the international department of the Working People’s Association (PRP) in indonesia condemned the arrest and called for an immediate explanation. He also accused the Indonesian government of using the refugees as bargaining chips to get more money from the Australian government through a shameful scheme called the ‘Indonesian solution’.
Ravi Kumar, a refugee held in the boat, expressed anger and frustration that all the help they get is coming under attack by the Indonesian government with the blessing of the Australian government. He also stated that the activists had not violated any restrictions put up by the Indonesian authorities. Currently the Indonesian authorities have banned any activists or media from getting access to the boat.
Tamil Solidarity, who is campaigning on behalf of the refugees in the boat, strongly condemned the arrest. These refugees have been held in the boat for more than 100 days in a completely inhuman way. One young man has already died as a direct result of the negligence of the Indonesian authorities. Now, instead of organising proper health facilities, the Indonesian authorities are further clamping down on activists who want to help despite international criticism at the absolutely dismal service provided to the refugees.
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2nd release ——
Tamil Solidarity strongly condemns the Indonesian government for the arrest of Saradha Nathan, Jessica and Pamella in Merak. These activists went there to help facilitate a solution to the terrible plight of the 254 Tamil-speaking refugees held in a small boat for more than 100 days.
Tamil Solidarity is angry to learn that these activists have been arrested today while trying to organise a food supply for those in the boat. We have often reported on the poor quality of the food and other services provided for the refugees and the bad consequences for their health.
We demand the immediate release of these activists and a proper explanation for this undemocratic activity.
This outrageous action by the Indonesian authorities is a continuation of their brutal treatment of the Tamil-speaking refugees and their attempts to prevent the many attempts by activists to help them.
We call on the Australian government to intervene – both to demand no further harassment of activists and to reverse its ‘Indonesian Solution’ and to grant the asylum rights these Sri Lankan Tamil-speaking refugees need. The violence and intimidation that has accompanied the presidential election in Sri Lanka is further evidence of the horror that exists there for ordinary people, as well as the continued detention and interrogation of young Tamil people.
- No harassment of activists
- Proper and adequate food, clothes, health and other supplies for the people on the boat
- No detention of asylum seekers in camps or elsewhere
- Immediately grant asylum rights to the Tamil-speaking refugees
- End the Indonesian Solution