Press release-Jo Higgins MEP condemns the intimidation tactics and the denial of human rights

Press release for immediate release

Jo Higgins MEP condemns the intimidation tactics and the denial of human rights

Heavily-armed navy commandos surround Tamil-speaking refugees on the boat in Merak, Indonesia

Contact Manny Thain on 0044 797 47 946 95 and

Tamil-speaking refugees on a boat in Merak harbour, Indonesia have faced an escalation of the terror they have faced when 20-25 boats manned by masked navy commandos surrounded their boat at 4am this morning, Indonesia time. Hearing noises, some refugees woke up to see the horrific scene of heavily-armed small boats surrounding them. Seeing this, panic spread across the boat. The armed men then left in a hurry.

These Tamil-speaking refugees, including many children, elderly and a pregnant woman, flee enormous repression of a similar nature in Sri Lanka. Now they fear that their life and their rights are under threat by the very forces they seek refuge from.

The refugees, who only seek their human rights to be met and a future for their children, now fear this is even further beyond their grasp. Tamil Solidarity condemns whoever is behind this inhumane intimidation. There is no need for such tactics as the refugees have made clear what they demand and have insisted on their willingness to talk to government officials, to the UNHCR and to the human rights agencies. They have appealed to the world, Indonesian and Australian working and poor masses to support them.

Responding to their call the PRP, KASBI and the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) have organised a protest at all the Indonesian embassies around the world on 5 December 2009. The refugees fear that this intimidation attempt was made by those who wish to violently undermine the protest in their support. A spokesperson from the CWI strongly condemns this.

Joe Higgins, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Dublin, strongly condemns this violation. He said: “I am appalled to learn of this intimidation that has been carried out against these most vulnerable people. I stand in solidarity with the Tamil-speaking refugees on the boat and urge the Australian and Indonesian governments to find a resolution in favour of the refugees’ very modest demands immediately.”

Tamil Solidarity calls on all who oppose repression and stand for human rights to stand in solidarity with these refugees. Join the protests against the intimidation and for an immediate resolution of the situation the refugees face.

Contact Manny Thain on 0044 797 47 946 95 and for details of the protest.