Twelve asylum seekers feared dead after capsize

Twelve asylum seekers feared dead after capsize

June 15, 2010   01:34 am


Indonesiahas arrested two asylum seekers whose boat capsized in an attempt to reach Australia, a refugee advocate says, and a dozen others from the small fishing boat are believed dead after trying to transfer to a larger vessel in stormy conditions.



Australian Tamil activist Sara Nathan said the survivors and two men who died had previously attempted the boat journey to Australia on the Jaya Lestari.



That boat was turned back to Indonesiaat Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s request and was moored for months in the port of Merak.



“If Kevin Rudd didn’t make that fateful phone call, these men would be alive and well on Christmas Island,” Ms Nathan said.



Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor said yesterday (Sunday) the latest boat was reported to have capsized in Indonesian waters and it was not his responsibility to investigate. “The claims that have been made are about the sinking of a vessel, a very small vessel, in Indonesian waters, so [Indonesia] would be best placed to confirm or deny that claim,” he said.



Ms Nathan said one of those believed dead after last week’s capsize had been recognised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a refugee. – (The Age, Australia)

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