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June 4, 2010

MERAK TAMIL ASYLUM SEEKER HOSPITALISED AS INDONESIAN DETENTION TAKES ITS TOLL – CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Media Release June 4, 2010

REFUGEE ADVOCATES CALL FOR THE RELEASE OF ALL MERAK ASYLUM SEEKERS

One the Merak Tamil asylum seekers, a woman with two children, has been hospitalised after suffering a mental breakdown in Tanjung Pinang detention centre.

The woman was among the 141 asylum seekers taken from Merak to Tanjung Pinang detention centre on 19 April.

The woman’s husband has also been taken from the detention centre to assist her, but this has meant that their two children have been left without their parents in the over crowded cells in Tanjung Pinang.

“The months on the boat at Merak and now two months in Tanjung Pinang are taking their toll. The detention and uncertainty is impacting on their mental and physical health,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Woman and children have been held in separate cells from their husbands and fathers since they were taken to Tanjung Pinang.

“There are up to 45 people in the cells. There are 15-20 women and 15 children. There is no adequate medical attention – none at all at night or on weekends. Water is rationed and there are no facilities for the children and nowhere to play or exercise.

“Complaints have been lodged with Indonesian Human Rights Commission and with Amnesty International in London. We are urgently seeking support from UNHCR and Amnesty International to appeal to the Indonesian and Australian governments to intervene in the situation at Tanjung Pinang,” said Rintoul.

“The International Organisation for Migration, funded by the Australian government, to support asylum seekers in Indonesia is nowhere to be seen. The Australian government’s agents are turning a blind eye to the appalling conditions and the detention of women and children in Tanjung Pinang.

The asylum seekers have now been registered with the UNHCR but are still waiting for their refugee assessments promised to be completed by July.

“The conditions in Tanjung Pinang are totally unacceptable. The Australian government must provide whatever resources the UNHCR needs to complete the processing of the Merak asylum seekers. The government has said that it will play a role in resettling Merak refugees referred by the UNHCR Stalling the processing only adds to their misery.”

For more information contact Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul: 0417 275 713

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