Kerry Vernon has written a new article on the current mistreatment of people trying to reach Australiaby boat via Indonesia hoping to apply for residence in Australia as refugees. She starts by saying:
“Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, diverted from entering Australia and put on the Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking, had been refusing food for two days and refusing to leave the ship at Kijang for the Indonesian immigration detention prison, Tanjung Pinang, on Bintan Island on October 26. It had been more than a week since the 78 asylum seekers, including a sick 12-year-old girl, were put aboard the Australian ship after being intercepted by the Indonesian navy on October 11 and diverted from reaching Australia in a deal between Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The Rudd government’s offshore processing deal with Indonesia means that Canberra will provide Jakarta with at least $50 million, on top of $12 million already spent renovating and building detention centres and $7.9 million on border control management. Rudd’s refugee deals with Indonesia, and Malaysia, are under increasing scrutiny since news reports revealed that Afghan detainees in Australian-funded Tanjung Pinang detention centre have been beaten by guards. According to the ABC’s Geoff Thompson, “Some of the mostly Afghan Hazaras locked up in the detention centre have been there for between two and six months”. Afghan refugees have complained that conditions in the prison are brutal and that they are treated like animals.”