We the undersigned ask for your intervention to resettle three adult and three child refugees. These Tamil refugees fled for safety from Sri Lanka, and have spent the last six years struggling in limbo in Indonesia. In 2015 they boarded the Andika in Indonesia, bound for New Zealand. The Andika was seaworthy and would have made it to New Zealand, but Australia intercepted them in a ‘turnback’ operation, forcing them off of their ship and seriously endangering their lives.
Soon after this incident, the leader of the Labour Party said that the NZ government should investigate whether the passengers were genuine refugees, and consider resettling them under the refugee quota. The United Nations has since recognised their genuine fears of persecution, granting them refugee status in 2018.
Other refugees from the Andika have since fled to other countries, unable to withstand the pressure of living in an Indonesian detention centre. However, this handful of people held on, hoping that the election of a Labour government would mean a change in their fortunes. Unfortunately, they remain in limbo six years after their legal attempt to claim asylum. You can read this report for more details about their case: https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/16-06-2019/governments-saving-lives-at-sea-rhetoric-rings-hollow/
The New Zealand government has stated that such turnback operations are illegal. That the government respects the right to asylum. We therefore believe intervention in this case is critical. Offering resettlement to these refugees would make the government’s commitment to its legal obligations clear, and would uphold its reputation as a humanitarian leader.
Ngā mihi nui,
Honouring Asylum and the undersigned
Why is this important?
Australia’s turnback operations are illegal. The New Zealand government has stated this, and that it respects the right to asylum. Therefore, intervention in this case is critical. Offering resettlement to these refugees would make the government’s commitment to its legal obligations clear, and would uphold its reputation as a humanitarian leader.