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Joint statement: Respect human rights -- free the refugees! Reject Australia's 'Indonesian solution'! Welcome the asylum seekers

Australian Customs commandos with Oceanic Viking in the background. Photo: ABC.

Joint statement by the Australian Socialist Alliance; Socialist Party (Australia); Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM); Network of the Oppressed People (JERIT), Malaysia; CWI Malaysia; Confederation Congress of Indonesian Union Alliance (KASBI); Working Peoples Association (PRP), Indonesia; National Liberation Party of Unity (PAPERNAS), Indonesia; Indonesian National Front for Labor Struggle (FNPBI); Socialist Worker New Zealand; Socialist Alternative (Australia); Partido Lakas ng Masa, Philippines; Transform Asia; Labour Party Pakistan; Resistance (Australia); Militan-Indonesia; Asia-Pacific Bureau of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU); Socialist Appeal New Zealand; Partido ng Manggagawa, Philippines; Solidarity (Australia)

November 5, 2009 -- -- All respect for elementary human rights and dignity have been thrown overboard as the governments of Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia refuse to accept the latest wave of Tamil asylum seekers fleeing war and oppression in Sri Lanka and instead treat them like criminals.

The Australian government is the only of these three governments to have signed the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees but it is refusing to carry out its obligations to asylum seekers under that convention.

For weeks, more than 250 Tamil-speaking people, including children, remain in dire conditions on a boat in Merak, Indonesia. Another 68 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers, including children, remain on the Australian customs ship Oceanic Viking off Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia. Both groups are refusing to leave their boats for fear that Indonesia will lock them up in detention centres with a reputation for brutality and/or send them back to an uncertain future in Sri Lanka. On November 1, it was reported that a boat of asylum seekers had sunk near the Cocos Islands, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, and 12 are missing feared drowned.

Meanwhile, 207 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers are being held at the Immigration Detention Centre at Kuala Lumpar International Airport, and 108 Sri Lankan refugees are being detained at Pekan Nanas Immigration Detention Centre in Johor, Malaysia. Malaysia is both a transit point and a country of permanent asylum for tens of thousands of refugees from countries such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd claims his Labor government's policy is "humane" but "tough". It is neither. The Labor government of Australia is bribing the Indonesian government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to intercept the boats of asylum seekers on their way to Australia. This "Indonesian solution" outsources Australia's obligation to asylum seekers to Indonesia just as its predecessor did to Nauru and Papua New Guinea in the name of a "Pacific solution".

Many of those seeking asylum in Australia come from Sri Lanka where the Tamils have suffered from decades of brutal oppression at the hands of various Sinhala national-chauvinist governments. The government of Mahinda Rajapaksa unleashed an all-out terror campaign this year, killing some 20,000 Tamil people in the month of May. Since the end of the military offensive, more than 300,000 Tamil people have been imprisoned in concentration camps and denied the right to return to their homes. It is estimated that 31,000 children are among those incarcerated, without proper access to shelter, food and medicine.

The Australian government, like many governments in the West and across Asia, supported the Rajapaksa regime throughout its final onslaught preferring to maintain trade links, including selling arms, rather than stop the Tamil minority from being massacred.

We condemn the Australian, Indonesian and Malaysian governments for their lack of commitment to the humanitarian problems faced by the refugees and we demand:

  •  That the governments of our countries withdraw financial and diplomatic support from the Sri Lankan government until it closes the concentration camps, and allows the Tamils trapped in camps to go back to their homes without fear of persecution.

  •  That no refugee fleeing war and persecution should be forced to return to the country they fled.

  • That Australia, as a wealthy and developed country which has exploited its poorer neighbours, should immediately develop a program to settle tens of thousands of asylum seekers and take a leading role in helping reduce the misery of the world’s millions of refugees, most of whom are trying to survive in desperate conditions in refugee camps in some of the world's poorest countries.

  • That Australia allow the asylum seekers trapped in Indonesia to come to Australia to have their claims heard here and we condemn the Indonesian government for being a puppet for the Australian government in preventing refugees from going to Australia. This cooperation between these two governments is a threat not only to the Tamil refugees but to human rights in the region.

  • That Australia must immediately close the Christmas Island refugee prison, close it down and allow those asylum seekers to live in freedom in Australia while their claims are processed.

  • That the Indonesian, Malaysian and Australian governments respect the human rights of the refugees, give protection, humanitarian aid and accomodation to the refugees as long as they are in Indonesian territory and place no limitation for their rights to seek an asylum.       

  • That the Malaysian and Indonesian governments sign the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, release the asylum seekers they have in detention and allow them full access to UNHCR and human rights groups.

We appeal to all democratic and progressive people in Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia, trade unions, human rights organisations and women’s rights organisations to understand the plight of the asylum seekers and to support our demands.

Signed by:

Socialist Alliance, Australia,

Socialist Party, Australia,

Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM),

Network of the Oppressed People (JERIT), Malaysia,

CWI Malaysia,

Confederation Congress of Indonesian Union Alliance (KASBI),

Working Peoples Association (PRP), Indonesia,

National Liberation Party of Unity (PAPERNAS),

Indonesian National Front for Labor Struggle (FNPBI)

Socialist Worker New Zealand,

Socialist Alternative, Australia

Partido Lakas ng Masa, Philippines,

Transform Asia

Labour Party Pakistan,

Resistance, Australia,


Asia-Pacific Bureau of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU),

Socialist Appeal New Zealand

Partido ng Manggagawa, Philippines

Solidarity, Australia

[If your organisation would like to add its name to this statement, please write to Socialist Alliance at]


Statement Bersama: Hormati Hak Asasi Manusia – Bebaskan Para Pengungsi! Tolak “Solusi Indonesia” Buatan Australia! Biarkan Para Pencari Suaka Datang!

Statement Bersama oleh Australian Socialist Alliance; Socialist Party (Australia); Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM); Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Malaysia; Committee for a Workers International (CWI) Malaysia; Konfederasi Kongres Aliansi Serikat Buruh Indonesia (KASBI); Perhimpunan Rakyat Pekerja (PRP); Partai Persatuan Pembebasan Nasional (PAPERNAS); Front Nasional Perjuangan Buruh Indonesia (FNPBI); Socialist Worker New Zealand; Socialist Alternative Australia; Partido Lakas ng Masa, Philipina; dan Transform Asia, Philipina; Labour Party Pakistan; Resistance (Australia); Militan-Indonesia; Asia-Pacific Bureau of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)

5 November 2009 – Penghormatan terhadap Hak Asasi Manusia telah dibuang ke laut oleh pemerintah Australia, Indonesia dan Malaysia ketika mereka menolak gelombang baru pencari suaka Tamil yang melarikan diri menghindari perang dan penindasan di Sri Lanka dan malahan mengancam mereka seperti kriminal.

Pemerintah Australia adalah satu-satunya pemerintahan, dari ketiga pemerintahan diatas, yang telah menandatangani Konvensi PBB tahun 1951 berkaitan dengan Status Pengungsi namun menolak menjalankan kewajibannya untuk pencari suaka dibawah konvensi tersebut.

Telah berbulan-bulan, lebih dari 250 orang berbahasa Tamil, termasuk anak-anak berada dalam kondisi menyedihkan di sebuah kapal di Merak, Indonesia. Sebanyak 68 orang pencari suaka Tamil lainnya, termasuk anak-anak berada dalam kapal bea cukai Australia Oceanic Viking di Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia. Kedua kelompok tersebut menolak meninggalkan perahu mereka karena takut pemerintah Indonesia akan memenjarakan mereka di pusat penahanan yang memiliki reputasi atas brutalitasnya dan atau mengirim mereka kembali ke masa depan yang tidak jelas di Sri Lanka. Pada tanggal 1November dilaporkan bahwa perahu pencari suaka tenggalam didekat pula Cocos, teritori Australia di Samudra Hindia, dan 12 orang hilang dikhawatirkan tenggelam.

Sementara itu 207 pencari suaka dari Sri Lanka ditahan di Pusat Penahanan Imigrasi di Bandara Internasional Kuala Lumpur, serta 108 pengungsi Sri Lanka ditahan di Pusat Penahanan Imigrasi Pekan Nanas di Johor, Malaysia. Malaysia adalah sebuah titik transit dan Negara dengan pencari suaka permanen dari puluhan ribu pengungsi dari Negara-negara seperti Burma dan Sri Lanka.

Perdana Menteri Australia Kevin Rudd menyatakan bahwa kebijakan pemerintahan Buruhnya adalah “manusiawi” namun “tegas”. Nyatanya bukanlah kedua hal itu. Pemerintahan Buruh Australia menyuap Pemerintahan Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono untuk mencegah perahu para pencari suaka ke Australia. “Solusi Indonesia” ini mengoutsourching kan kewajiban Australia kepada para pencari suaka ke Indonesia seperti yang dilakukan oleh para pendahulunya kepada Nauru dan Papua New Guinea atas nama “Solusi Pasifik”.

Banyak dari mereka yang mencari suaka di Australia dating dari Sri Lanka dimana komunitas Tamil menderita berpuluh-puluh tahun karena penindasan brutal ditangan berbagai pemerintahan chauvinis-nasional Sinhala. Pemerintahan Mahinda Rajapaksa melancarkan kampanye terror all-out pada tahun ini, yang mengakibatkan korban jiwa 20.000 Tamil pada bulan Mei. Sejak akhir serangan militer, lebih dari 300.000 penduduk Tamil telah dipenjara dalam kamp konsentrasi dan ditolak haknya untuk kembali ke rumah mereka. Diperkirakan sekitar 31.000 anak-anak termasuk diantara mereka yang dipenjarakan, tanpa akses layak kepada tempat tinggal, makanan dan obat-obatan.

Pemerintah Australia, seperti banyak pemerintahan di Barat dan di Asia, mendukung sepenuhnya rejim Rajapaksa sepanjang serangan besar-besarannya. Mereka lebih menyukai menjaga hubungan perdagangan, termasuk perdagangan senjata, ketimbang menghentikan pembantaian terhadap minoritas Tamil. 

Kami mengutuk Pemerintahan Australia, Indonesia dan Malaysia karena tidak adanya komitmen mereka kepada persoalan humanitarian yang dihadapi oleh para pengungsi dan kami menuntut:

a.       Agar pemerintahan Negara kami menarik dukungan keuangan dan diplomatik dari pemerintah Sri Lanka hingga pemerintah Sri Lanka menutup kamp konsentrasinya dan mengijinkan penduduk Tamil yang terjebak didalam kamp-kamp untuk kembali ke rumah mereka tanpa rasa ketakutan akan represi.

b.      Agar tidak satupun pengungsi yang lari karena perang dan pengejaran dipaksa kembali ke Negara yang mereka tinggalkan.

c.       Bahwa Australia, sebagai Negara yang kaya dan berkembang yang telah mengeksploitasi Negara tetangganya yang lebih miskin segera mengembangkan program untuk puluhan ribu pencari suaka dan memainkan peran memimpin dalam membantu mengurangi penderitaan jutaan pengungsi di dunia, yang kebanyakan darinya berusaha bertahan dalam kondisi menyedihkan dalam kamp-kamp pengungsi di beberapa Negara-negara yang termasuk Negara termiskin didunia.

d.      Agar Australia mengijinkan pencari suaka yang terjebak di Indonesia datang ke Australia untuk agar klaim mereka didengar di Australia. Dan kami mengutuk pemerintahan Indonesia yang menjadi boneka dari Pemerintahan Australia dalam mencegah para pengungsi pergi ke Australia. Kerjasama dari kedua pemerintah ini adalah ancaman tidak hanya bagi para pengungsi Tamil namun untuk hak asasi manusia di region ini.

e.      Bahwa Australia harus segera menutup penjara pengungsi di Pulau Christmas dan mengijinkan para pencari suaka untuk hidup dengan bebas di Australia sementara klaim mereka diproses.

f.        Agar pemerintah Indonesia, Malaysia dan Australia menghormati hak asasi manusia dari para pengungsi, memberikan perlindungan, bantuan kemanusiaan dan akomodasi kepada para pengungsi selama mereka berada di teritori Indonesia dan tidak memberikan batasan bagi hak mereka untuk mencari suaka.

g.       Agar pemerintah Malaysia dan Indonesia meratifikasi Konvensi PBB mengenai Status Pengungsi, membebaskan para pencari suaka di tahanan mereka dan memberikan akses penuh pada UNHCR dan kelompok-kelompok HAM.

Kami menyerukan kepada seluruh kelompok demokratik dan progresif di Indonesia, Malaysia dan Australia, serikat buruh, organisasi HAM dan organisasi hak perempuan untuk memahami seruan para pencari suaka dan untuk mendukung tuntutan kami.

Ditanda tangani oleh:

Socialist Alliance, Australia,

Socialist Party (Australia),

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM),

Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Malaysia,

Committee for a Workers International (CWI) Malaysia,

Konfederasi Kongres Aliansi Serikat Buruh Indonesia (KASBI),

Perhimpunan Rakyat Pekerja (PRP),

Partai Persatuan Pembebasan Nasional (PAPERNAS),

Front Nasional Perjuangan Buruh Indonesia (FNPBI)

Socialist Worker New Zealand,

Socialist Alternative, Australia,

Partido Lakas ng Masa, Philippine,

Transform Asia, Philippine

Labour Party Pakistan,

Resistance, Australia,


Asia-Pacific Bureau of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU),

[Jika organisasi anda ingin menambahkan namanya dalam pernyataan sikap bersama ini, mohon menulis ke]



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