NAVY TOWS CHRISTMAS ISLAND ASYLUM BOAT BACK TO SEA 1

> Refugee Action Coalition

> MEDIA RELEASE
>
> NAVY TOWS CHRISTMAS ISLAND ASYLUM BOAT BACK TO SEA
>
> A boat of asylum seekers which arrived at Christmas Island early this
> morning (Friday 20 November) has been towed back to sea by the navy.
>
> The small boat which arrived unescorted at Christmas Island this
> morning had earlier been covered by a tarpaulin to prevent any contact
> between the asylum seekers and people on the shore.
>
> The boat has now been towed out to sea by the navy.
>
> “We are extremely concerned that the navy is attempting to turn this
> boat back to Indonesia,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the
> Refugee Action Coalition, “Australian officials may well be, once
> again, trying to bribe the crew to return to Indonesia.
>
> “Turning boats back and bribing the crew both constitute international
> crimes and violate the rights of asylum seekers.
>
> “We know many boats are still attempting to reach Australia to gain
> the protection they cannot get in Indonesia. These asylum seekers may
> well be fleeing the same dangers as the 12,000 Syrians Australia says
> it will accept.
>
> “But the Coalition government has banned the resettlement of any UNHCR
> refugees from Indonesia. The government’s policy means they have no
> alternative but to try to reach protection by boat.
>
> “We are calling on the government to allow this boat to land and to
> process their claims in Australia. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is
> in Darwin today, ideally placed to prevent more human rights abuses of
> these asylum seekers.”
>
> For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713