Indonesia, the new Pacific solution? Refugee rights and social justice in the Asia Pacific

Public forum:

Indonesia, the new Pacific solution? Refugee rights and social justice in the Asia Pacific

 Date: Tuesday, 08 December 2009 Time: 18:00 – 20:00

A discussion forum with Pamela Curr and Setyo Budi Presented by Indonesia Solidarity Forum and the University of Melbourne Indonesian program

Pamela Curr – Long term refugee rights activist and the Campaign Coordinator at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre will be speaking on “Australia: externalising borders and aping the Gaddafi/ Berlusconi agreement. Human rights trampled by political skulduggery. Has Australia lost the plot? What can we do?”

Setyo Budi – Indonesia solidarity activist and presenter on the Asia Pacific Currents show on Radio 3CR will speak on “Indonesian attitudes towards their government’s refugee policy. What is happening inside Indonesia? Linking with the Indonesian refugee rights campaign.” The Australian Government, the Liberal Party and the corporate media claim people arriving in Australian waters by boat are “unauthorised” and “trafficked” people, while the Indonesian government has agreed to do Australia’s dirty work by locking up Tamils and others inside Indonesia which prevents them from presenting their case in the Australian legal system. Australian aid money to Indonesia presently paying for locking up Tamils and others destined for Australia, should be used to improve the lives of Indonesia’s poor majority, not for jailing refugees. Over 100 000 Tamils are incarcerated in camps controlled by the Sri Lankan military away from international media. According to an October 28 Age report “Surveillance cameras funded by the Australian Government at Colombo airport have been linked with a spate of extra-judicial arrests” encouraging Tamils seeking refuge in Australia to leave by boat. Tamils who have done this and are now detained in Indonesia have been courageously fighting for their rights and stand almost alone in the Australian media. Other voices inside Indonesia and Australia supporting their claims have been effectively silenced. This forum aims to increase the links between organisations in Indonesia and Australia that are campaigning for justice for refugees in our region, to raise the voice of refugee rights and as the first step in building a united movement. Indonesia Solidarity Forum aims to establish an ongoing Australian organisation supporting justice and democracy in Indonesia.

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