STOP THE REFUGEE TOW BACKS – LET THEM LAND
Sailors: Don’t implement Operation Sovereign Borders
Protest Friday 21st February 12:30pm
Defence Recruitment Centre, 501 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Abbott’s asylum seeker tow back scheme is a human rights disaster. Using the Navy to turn back refugee boats puts lives at risk. There have also been credible reports of the Navy using live rounds to get boats to turn back, using pepper spray against asylum seekers, refusing them permission to go to the toilet and causing burns to asylum seekers hands. Scott Morrison’s refusal to investigate or release footage of the incidents, speaks volumes about the likely truth of the claims.
Such claims have precedence, in 2001 under John Howard live rounds were fired by the Navy, and asylum seekers mistreated for using an onboard toilet. 5 people died during Howard’s attempts to turn back boats.
The UN has condemned the turn-back policy as contravening the Refugee Convention. Other legal experts think that forcibly intercepting boats and forcing asylum seekers back to Indonesia is people trafficking and would fit the definition of piracy. The boat tow-backs have violated Indonesia’s borders, and been shrouded in outrageous undemocratic secrecy. Retired senior Navy Officer John Ingram said the government’s stop the boats policy is “absolutely abhorrent….turning boats back on the open sea and pursuing them toward Indonesia… is not the naval way of doing things”.
The Navy should not be waging war against defenseless, vulnerable people seeking our help. The Refugee Action Collective believes that orders that put civilian life at risk are unlawful and can be refused. Join the Refugee Action Collective in calling on sailors to refuse to comply with the unlawful and unethical orders to turn back the asylum seeker boats. We will have flyers on the day to appeal to Defence personnel not to implement Operation Sovereign Borders, and information on their right to refuse unlawful orders.
Call Lucy 0404 728 104 for more info