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November 2, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Refugee advocates have joined Christmas Island survivors and the relatives of one of the surviving families in Java to call on the Australian government to bring the survivors of the Java sinking to Australia.

“The Australian government should bring the survivors of the tragedy to Australia,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “These asylum seekers were on their way to Australia, and Australia has the resources to support them in the aftermath of the tragedy. There is no future for them in Indonesia and we have spoken to the Sydney relatives if one of the surviving families who also wants them to be brought to Australia.”

The cousin of Aziz, an Iranian man, who lost his two-year old daughter, Soghand, in yesterday’s tragedy pleaded with the Australian government to bring his cousin and his wife to Australia; “We want the government to bring them to Australia. There are family members in Australia. We are ready to help them in every way.”

Speaking from hospital in Indonesia, Aziz told the Refugee Action Coalition that the boat had been at sea for two hours when it got into trouble and a wave knocked the boat. “Too much raining. Too much water. The boat floated down. There were bodies in the water,” he said. “We have lost our baby. My wife is too unhappy. We need help. We don’t know what will happen to us. We are waiting for the UN but nobody has come. I cannot go back to Iran. Please help.”

Median Ibrahimi who lost his wife in the Christmas Island disaster and Hussain Hussaini one of the survivors of the disaster said, “The latest boat has brought back all the thoughts about our situation. We are still suffering, and this is terrible for them. We ask the government to have compassion for these people and bring them to Australia.”

The Refuge Action Coalition condemns the Minister’s attempt to resurrect the Malaysia Agreement. “The Immigration Minister’s use of the tragedy to approach the Coalition to pass amendments that would allow the government to restart the Malaysia Agreement is shameful. The Minister knows there is no safety for refugees in Malaysia,” said Ian Rintoul.

“The criminalisation of people smuggling and the push for Indonesia to detain asylum seekers, in many cases for years, are policies that are driving people to get into unseaworthy boats. We need humane polices that offer protection.

“In light of this tragedy, the humanitarian thing to do is bring the survivors to Australia, process their applications and allow those with family in Australia to join them here.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.

Media interviews can also be arranged with Christmas Island disaster victims Median Ibrahimi and Hussain Hussaini.

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