Posted on October 27th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

In Indonesia, an unfriendly attitude towards Tamil asylum seekers whose ships are receiving some accommodation , is being created say reports emanating out of the country.

On October 27 some youth said to be representing Kijian Riau island province held a demonstration against the Tamils.

“Reject Sri Lanka immigrants. Riau Island is not an accommodation center,” the posters they carried said, reported the Antara News service .

La Ode Abdul Mukmin, coordinator of the rally, said the government must turn down the Sri Lanka immigrants because Indonesia is not an accommodation centre for foreign immigrants.

“They were arrested in Australian waters, so why they have to be taken to Tanjungpinang immigration detention center?,” he said.

The government must think about it so that in the future Indonesia would not become a country accommodating asylum seekers,he said.They would later stay for good in Bintan or be returned to Sri Lanka, while people in Bintan were facing unemployment problem.

Australian customs ship Oceanic Viking carrying 78 Sri Lanka asylum seekers were still in Tembora

Australian customs ship Oceanic Viking carrying 78 Sri Lanka asylum seekers were still in Tembora Laut Isle waters, Kijang, with a tight guard of Indonesian warship KRI Kelabang.

The ship was expected to moor at Sri Bayintan Kijang harbour, on Tuesday but there was no confirmation so far.

In the face of criticism for Canberra’s adoption of a so-called “Indonesian solution”, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd argued the settlement and processing of asylum seekers in Indonesia was aimed at preventing tragedy on the high seas.

Meanwhile Indonesian officials have refused to allow the Australian ship carrying 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, including women and children, to dock on Bintan Island, the Associated Press reported.

The ethnic Tamils were picked up by an Australian Customs Service patrol ship found more than a week ago after they were discovered drifting in a wooden boat with a broken engine.

After talks between Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a presidential spokesman said last week that the Sri Lankans would be given temporary accommodation in Indonesia.

However, the refugees were not granted approval to disembark on Bintan island, according to I Gde Widiarta, a law and human rights official in Riau Kepulauan province. The island is about 1,000 kilometres north of Jakarta and across the Singapore Strait from Singapore.

Teuku Faizasyah, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said talks were underway between Jakarta and local government officials.

“We are trying to convince [them] that our aim to help the 78 asylum seekers is merely based on humanitarian grounds,” Faizasyah said.

The Sri Lankans are the latest in a flood of thousands of people from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq seeking better futures around the world.

On Oct. 17, 76 Sri Lankan Tamil migrants were found on the Ocean Lady off the coast of Vancouver Island. Authorities are investigating whether they were part of a massive, international people-smuggling operation run by an Indonesian ship captain.

Abraham Lauhenapessy, known as Captain Bram, was recently arrested aboard a boat carrying 255 Sri Lankan asylum seekers off the coast of western Java.He is suspected of entered into a people’s smuggling deal with the LTTE.

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