Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers on Hunger Strike

A group of Sri Lankan women detained at Indonesia's Merak port went on a hunger strike on Monday the 9th.

They are part of a group of Sri Lankans seeking asylum in Australia. Their wooden boat was intercepted by Indonesian authorities a month ago. Since then, they have been living on the boat, which is being held at the port.

The protesters are frustrated that they’re being kept in limbo.

[Shanty, Protester]:
“Why you are sleeping, women organizations? Why you are sleeping? Please try to understand, our feeling and our body condition and everything. Here a lot of ladies and a lot of children are here. We are suffering from Sri Lankan government and this traveling also. We can't stay more this situation. Please try to understand.”

International organizations and some residents near the port have been providing daily basic needs for the Sri Lankans.

Australia is seeing the biggest stream of illegal immigrants in seven years. The Australian government asked for Indonesia’s help in stopping illegal immigrants from heading to Australia.

The Australian prime minister held talks with the Indonesian president last month to discuss the plight of the asylum seekers. Further talks are expected at the APEC summit in Singapore this weekend.

© New Tang Dynasty Television

Related Links:
Sri Lanka deal bid to curb asylum seekers - New Zealand Herald
Sri Lanka's Tamils need more help: Australian special envoy - Radio Australia News
Asylum-seekers' fate still uncertain - The Canberra Times

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