Ms Penny Williams
Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia
6 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, Kuala Lumpur
Tan Sri Da’i Bachtiar
Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia,
No. 233, Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur.
WE URGE BOTH INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT AND AUTRALIAN GOVERNMENT IMMEDIATELY FIND A REASONABLE SOLUTION TO UPHOLD THE RIGHTS FOR ASYLUM TO 255 SRI LANKAN TAMILS STRANDED IN INDONESIA
255 Sri Lankan held from 10 October in Merak harbour, Indonesia by Indonesia authorities after leaving Malaysia on the way to Australia. They took to the sea to escape Malaysia, where they were not given asylum after fleeing Sri Lanka. After hellish days at sea, full of fear and uncertainty on the small boat, they are all suffering from fatigue and are very depressed that still their lives are hanging in the balance. From a six month old baby to a 66 year old, including a pregnant woman, are all still in the boat. For the last two weeks they have been hoping at least one country in the world would take them.
We are also very disappointed to learn that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a phone call to Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to stop their boat and keep them away from Australia. They are harmless peaceful people who are trying to save their lives and asking for fundamental rights to be respected. They pose no threat.
They have suffered enough at the hands of the Sri Lankan government. Their life so far has been wasted by the war. They were forced to escape as a result of the horrific attacks on Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka. Thirty year long war in Sri Lanka had devastated their lives. There is no way they want to go back to that horrendous life. Return to Sri Lanka will mean being returned to hell and all their lives will be in danger.
All they demand is a right to have a decent life with basic democratic rights including right to education for their kids. They are determined not to waste rest of their life in another detention camp which denies them fundamental rights. All they demand is a better life that all human beings deserve in the world.
They feel that they have no choice but to remain on the boat until the UN or any government takes a step to offer them what they so desperately need. We are sure that there must be a country that will recognize their desperation and can grant them the very basic rights we seek. But until then they are determined to stay in the boat.
We urge Indonesian and Australian authorities to immediately intervene to find a reasonable solution in order to grant the asylum rights to the 255 Sri Lankan Tamils stranded in Merak, Indonesia. This is human fundemental rights and must be respected !
Committee for Workers’ International- Malaysia