Indonesian authorities report refugee boats pushed back by Australian Navy
Monday, January 13, 2014
Indonesian police found the two ships reportedly forcibly towed back from Australia on December 19, and on January 6 after being towed on Sudanese asylum seeker from one of the boats reported the Navy ship numbers, identifying them as and , and said the refugees were denied access to navigation tools during the duration of the route and abandoned in sea in the middle of the night. Commenters called such practice " ", "tow-backs", "turn-backs".. A self-identified
Police chief Hidayat Rote Island, speaking to Fairfax Media, said the second boat was adrift: "They were rescued by the locals, because the boat engines were dead. The boat now is wreckage, near some reefs."
The Australian government had also planned to purchase additional lifeboats for refugee expulsion from Australian waters, Fairfax Media reported.
Australian government originally had no response, but after protests byand the , Tony Abbott commented. Last Thursday, he supported lack of transparency on the issue by saying "I'd rather be criticised a bit for being a bit of a closed book on the issue, and actually stop the boats. I'm pleased to say that it's now several weeks since we've had a boat, and the less we talk about operational details on the water, the better when it comes to stopping the boats."
Defence Force chief David Hurley also claimed professional behaviour of board officers and the Navy when handling arriving refugees boats.
chief General Moeldoko said according to the , and an spokesperson confirmed, that they agreed on the push-backs approach mid-December with no further comment; with Mr Abbot calling the relationship "very strong", while Indonesia's legal and security affairs minister and foreign affairs minister both disapproved of the approach. General Moeldoko reportedly later said the media had misreported him.
The United Nations (UNRA) was seeking explanation from the Australian government, it reported in a press briefing this Saturday. The UNRA spokesperson, Babar Baloch, raised legal concerns by saying that "Any such approach would raise significant issues and potentially could place Australia in breach of its obligations under the and international law. If people who are in need for international protection seek a country's safety, then they must be allowed to go through a process which helps to determine if these people are in need."
Marke, another self-identified Somali asylum seeker, claimed earlier similar treatment, on December 10: that the Australian Navy — HMAS Parramatta and — had claimed Christmas Island destination, towed his boat for several days, and subsequently dropped at an undisclosed location.
- Asylum seeker boat push-backs may breach international laws, UN warns" — , January 11, 2014. "
- Mark Church. "Australian government forces refugee boats back to Indonesia" — , January 10, 2014
- "Tony Abbott happy to be 'closed book' on border operations as Labor demands details on asylum boat turn-backs" — , January 9, 2014
- George Roberts. "Indonesia says second asylum seeker boat forced back by Australian Navy" — , January 7, 2013
- "United Indonesia Cabinet 2009-2014" — , October 22, 2009