Australia: Tamil refugee dies in Merak

Socialist MEP condemns Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd

Tamil refugees moored at the port in Merak contacted Socialist Party officials this morning with the tragic news that a young man died last night at about 11.30pm local time.

Jacob Christin, aged 29, had been trying to go to hospital for the last two days but the IOM and local authorities had refused to let him leave the port. They have also been denying medical staff access to the boat for some weeks.

Kumar, one of the refugees on the boat, said “Jacob Christin was violently ill and had been constantly vomiting blood. It took a bitter argument with the authorities to get them to eventually take him to hospital.

“It seems that after two days it was too late. Jacob died very soon after arriving at the hospital. We are sure that if he had medical assistance earlier he would still be with us today” Kumar said.

Socialist Party National Organiser Anthony Main, who visited the boat in late November, said “There is only one person to blame for this tragedy – Kevin Rudd. He was the one who contacted the Indonesian government to intercept this boat and he is the one who has been refusing to process these people along the same lines as those on the Oceanic Viking”

“It seems that instead of adhering to his responsibilities Kevin Rudd would prefer to let these people die one by one. Its time Rudd acted urgently to let these people come to Australia so that they can be processed in a proper manner” Anthony said.

MEP condemns Rudd over death in Merak

Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Dublin, Ireland, condemned the Australian government early this morning for its direct responsibility for the death of a Tamil refugee.

Joe Higgins stated: “The Australian government has signed up to the refugee convention and is in clear violation of its commitments. I am appalled by the death of Mr Jacob Christin and send my condolences to his family and to those on the boat.

“I urge the Australian and the Indonesian governments to take immediate steps to avoid further suffering. All the remaining refugees must be treated respectfully. Proper medical and food supplies must be provided and their refugee claims must be processed by the Australian government immediately.

“In my capacity as an MEP I will be taking this issue up and will bring whatever pressure I can to bear on the agencies and governments involved”. Mr Higgins said.

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