Protest in Indonesia against the ill treatment of Tamil refugees

Please see the joint statement :Joint Statement against ‘indonesia solution’ in support of Refugees.

A protest against the ill-treatment of the Sri Lankan Tamil-speaking refugees was held on 4 December 2009.

Activists from following organizations participated in the protest:

  • Working Peoples Association (PRP),
  • Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance (KASBI),
  • Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) Jakarta,
  • Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI),
  • Human Rights Working Group (HRWG),
  • Humanitarian Volunteers Network (JRK),
  • Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KONTRAS).

Two buses took protestors from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute to the Foreign Department in Indonesia where the first protest began. After speeches a representative from the coalition met with the Foreign Department. Afterwards they reported on the results from the meeting:

a.         The Foreign Department stated that they also reject the “Indonesia Solution”.

b.         The Foreign Department stated that the Indonesian government never received money from the Australian government relating to the “Indonesia Solution”.

c.         The Foreign Department stated that the Australia money was received by the IOM and UNHCR Indonesia.

d.         The Foreign Department stated that they will give access to UNHCR only after the Foreign Department verified the refugees.

e.         To do the verification, the refugees must leave the boat.

f.          The Indonesian government will soon ratify the UN Convention on Refugees.

g.         Access for humanitarian aid will be decided through a Task Force meeting headed by the Ministry of Politic, Law and Security.

For the coalition this was not a resolution of the situation and they then took their protest to the UNHCR Indonesia. Here the coalition’s representative was forced to undergo a strict security procedure before gaining access. UNHCR later apologised for this and the two main outcomes of the meeting were that while UNHCR were willing to involve the coalition in discussions, they maintained their insistence that the refugees must leave the boat.

Over five hours after the two buses departed the protestors arrived at the Australian embassy. Here they had speeches from the Working Peoples Association, the Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance and the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute.

This protest, which involves so many of the most important human rights and workers’ organisations in Indonesia, reflects the mounting anger against the hypocrisy of the governments in the region to come to the assistance of the Tamil-speaking population of Sri Lanka who face such enormous repression and denial of human rights, despite their so-called commitment to human rights.

Indonesia: Ign Mahendra K:+62 85716280745

UK: senan,, 07908050217