Thursday May 14, 2015 19:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"In what could easily be dubbed "The Struma, St Louis, Patria and Exodus Movie Sequel" in reference to WWII's repulsion against refugee flotillas loaded with Jews escaping Germany, a human catastrophe is unfolding before our eyes in the region after Thailand has begun a crackdown against trafficking, resulting in smugglers abandoning their cargo of up to 8000 people in boats," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said today.
"Yesterday, Indonesia has pushed off the first boat from its shores with 400 passengers, and today reports are emerging that Malaysia will do the same in relation to the thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and Bangladeshi migrants. Meanwhile, the usual deadly silence reigns supreme in Canberra where the foreign aid budget got slashed for Indonesia, while Tony Abbott's human rights crime racket in Cambodia, Nauru and Papua New Guinea have their foreign aid funds quarantined from Abbott and Bishop's dirty Annual Aid Cull Indecency," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Australian politicians have a long history of dirty asylum seeker policy and manipulative rhetoric, and both Labor and Coalition leaders and governments will wail and moan about "deaths at sea" when it suits their own agenda, and they will peddle, opportunistically supported by the lobby elites around the country, the notions of "regional solutions" and "burden sharing" - also ONLY when it suits their domestic marginal voter interest agenda - and too often a deeply racist one at that."
"Nevertheless, Australia is the only wealthy country in the region that has not only signed the UN Refugee Convention but that has all the resources and infrastructure capable of an emergency rescue and a large intake response. If Australia wants to indeed build and develop regional cooperation, it would already sit around the table with Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and other countries and show instant leadership aspirations in both its professional maritime response and its willingness to host the migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, and immediately mobilise a mass Medivac response led by the Australian Navy."
"Australia has a direct responsibility emanating from this context and a moral human rights obligation to be not just a good neighbour but a wealthy leader in the region. It will help heal our relationship with many countries around the place. If people will die on the oceans by the hundreds or thousands, nobody in Canberra will find a Pontius Pilate washing basin generous enough to wash their hands from this human catastrophe."
Malaysia to follow Indonesia in turning back migrant boats; thousands may face starvation at sea
ABC News Online / AFP / Reuters
First posted Wed 13 May 2015, 12:44pm
Updated Wed 13 May 2015, 1:10pm
Thailand, Malaysia may set up camps for influx of migrants; at least 8,000 believed to be adrift at sea
ABC News Online / wires
By South-East Asia correspondent Samantha Hawley, wires
First posted Tue 12 May 2015, 7:17pm
Updated Wed 13 May 2015, 6:15am
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]