Please use the model letter below- draft for International Women’s Day (march 8th) to circulate to all and sundry and ask them to send to Rudd.
Please forward it to us so that we can add you on to the list:
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
Dear Prime Minister Rudd,
I am writing to you with regards to the horrific situation facing 254 Tamil-speaking refugees on a boat in Merak, Indonesia.
On International Women’s Day I am writing to you to take action to assist these people, who have been crammed on a 40-person boat for almost 150 days. They are fleeing the racist and chauvinist brutality of the Sri Lankan government which has been described as an “elected dictatorship”. Among the 254 are many children and a pregnant woman. You would not expect a dog to live in the conditions they have suffered, without adequate sanitation facilities, food or medical attention. Their human rights are being trampled upon.
These people want a decent life. The war and violence in Sri Lanka is not of their making. But they are being made to suffer. They fear that, under the terms of your ‘Indonesian solution’, they will face detention or forced return should they disembark.
Do not turn your back on these people any longer. Their suffering must not be allowed to continue.
I am calling on the Australian government to immediately:
(i) Instruct the International Organisation for Migration to provide medical and humanitarian assistance to the asylum seekers on the boat.
(ii) Offer immediate resettlement to those people who have refugee status.
(iii) Commit to processing claims and resettling the remaining people within clearly stated and reasonable timelines and conditions.
(iv) Transfer the asylum seekers from the boat to Australia.
(v) Terminate the ‘Indonesian solution’ arrangements so no other people suffer in this way.
On Wednesday I will be supporting the day of action to mark the 150th day on the boat for these refugees. Trade unions, student unions and other organisations will be protesting at Australia Embassy. Act now to help these desperate people and let this be a celebration of respect for human rights.
I await your reply,