REFUGEE GROUP CALLS PROTEST: NO OFF-SHORE PROCESSING: IMMEDIATE REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT FROM INDONESIA – MERAK TAMILS STILL IN LIMBO
The Refugee Action Coalition has called a protest, at Sydney’s Immigration office, 26 Lee Street, Wednesday, 15 August, 12.00 noon.
The government is selectively choosing recommendations from its Expert Panel to impose drastic off-shore processing while recommendations to increase resettlement from Indonesia are being ignored.
“The Expert Panel’s recommendation that another 3,800 refugees from Indonesia and the region be resettled in Australia has been sidelined by the government. The government is ignoring the one thing that could make a difference to refugee lives,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“The hypocrisy is astounding. Labor has embraced Howard’s Pacific Solution with unseemly haste, while UNHCR refugees in Indonesia are being left in limbo.
“In October 2009, Australia promised to help resettle the Merak Tamils but almost three years later, they are still in Indonesia. In March, the government announced that 24 Merak Tamils had been accepted. But six months later, not one of them has actually arrived in Australia; most have not even had interviews.
“The Expert Panel’s suggestion of 3800 is about equal to the number of both UNHCR refugees and asylum seekers registered in Indonesia.
“The government’s new-found concern about deaths at sea is a smokescreen for imposing drastic anti-refugee policies that suit its domestic political agenda.
“Providing safe passage for asylum seekers and refugees from Indonesia does not require legislation. The government could provide safe passage for the Merak Tamil refugees and all the others in Indonesia, but the government would rather impose Howard’s Pacific Solution, than save lives.”
For comment contact, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713 or Nick Riemer: 0435 533 027.
For comment from Merak Tamil refugees, contact Nimal + 62 853 727 236 65