Asylum seekers stage protest aboard boat in Indonesia
Tamil Guardian 05 September 2012
53 Tamil asylum seekers have undertaken a fast-unto-death protest on their boat harboured in Indonesia for the past 4 days, demonstrating against the decision to send them back to Sri Lanka.
The group of asylum seekers sent messages to relatives and journalists calling for intervention to ensure they are not returned to Sri Lanka for fear of persecution. After a perilous 20 day journey from Chennai, during which a friendly fishing boat provided them with fuel, the group found themselves stranded off the Indonesian coast, where the navy then towed them to a port.
The refugees have been calling for the 2,000 litres of fuel they now need for them to reach Christmas Island, Australia, where they hope to claim asylum. Amongst the group are 4 women, 3 children and 2 disabled persons.
TamilNet was also sent photos from an unverified source which reported to show another group of 43 asylum seekers being detained at Indonesia’s Mentawai Island.
The Sri Lankan government has expressed concern over a recent Memorandum of understanding, signed between the US Embassy in Colombo and the Trincomalee Urban Council, to establish an ‘American Corner’, a public information centre.
A Sri Lankan military soldier is suspected to have perpetrated the rape of a 7 year old girl in Nedunkeni, Vavuniya, reports Uthayan.
The incident led to a protest by local Tamils, demanding that the culprit be arrested.
Sri Lanka's Public Relations and Public Affairs Minister, Mervyn Silva, has decided to launch a hotline for public complaints, reports Colombo Page. The hotline would allow the user to choose their language of choice,