The Iranian Resistance expresses condolences to the families of the victims of the boat-tragedy and calls on Indonesian and Australian governments to recognize the rights of asylum-seekers according to the international standards.
At least 11 people have died and a further 189 rescued after a boat carrying asylum-seekers including Iranians headed to Australia sank off the southern coast of Indonesia on July 23, Tuesday night, AAP reported.
Among the dead bodies, a five-year-old Sri Lankan girl and a 30-year-old Iranian man were identified. These two bodies were found in Karangpotong beach, about nine miles south of where their overcrowded tugboat sank on Tuesday night off the coast of West Java.
The incident on Tuesday is the third of such tragedies in two weeks, as asylum seekers leave Indonesia seeking refuge in Australia’s Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island, only 376km (234 miles) from Cidaun. The survivors are reported to be mainly from Iraq, Iran and Sri Lanka.
Indonesian officials have said the group was believed to consist of around 204 migrants from Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq .They left on a smaller boat that started leaking before meeting a larger ship at sea that was supposed to complete their journey.
Since 2001, about 1000 people have died while attempting to reach Christmas Island, with over 15,000 asylum-seekers having arrived by boat so far this year. In a move that has invoked both anger and disbelief with Amnesty International and other human rights groups, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced last Friday that asylum-seekers would no longer be resettled in Australia, but would be sent instead to Papua New Guinea for processing and possible settlement there. Last year, Australia reopened its immigration detention centers on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea and on the remote South Pacific island of Nauru.
Since the Papua New Guinea scheme was announced, four boats carrying almost 300 people have been intercepted by Australian authorities. Following the tragedy last Tuesday, the Prime Minister has said that the incident reinforces the need for the Papua New Guinea solution, adding it would stop other asylum-seekers risking their lives and would send “a clear message to people smugglers to stop sending people by boat to Australia.
According to Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Campaign Co-ordinator, the new plans show “not only a complete disregard for asylum-seekers but absolute contempt for legal and moral obligations”, and accused Australia of shirking responsibility towards “the world’s most vulnerable people”.