UPDATE 20th OCTOBER
This is NOT a report on a new refugee boat being found, sunk or turned back.
This is delayed post on a previously reported event which happened in July.
On July 21st this year I reported that “Yesterday a vessel of “suspected” Asylum Seekers was spotted off Dampier. The Delphinus (WA Police Vessel) has returned to port without the suspected Asylum Seekers and so we are left to assume that Border Farce has taken them under its wing.Including the rumoured women and children who are involved. Looking at the size of the vessel I anticipate it has between 10 and 30 people on board.
No further information on this vessel was ever published or leaked.
A couple of weeks ago someone* pointed me at an article in the Bangaldeshi press.
Prothom Alo, published in Dhaka, reported on August 12th, “There are 33 Bangladeshis who have been sent back from the Australian coast and are now languishing in the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) camp at Kupang, Indonesia.
In the latest development, Indonesian police caught 25 persons of a group on 31 July. Of them, 23 were Bangladeshis, including a woman. The other two were a Pakistani and a Myanmar national. They were detained by Australian border forces for six days and then sent back by the same trawler. This correspondent spoke to six of them over cell phone. They claimed themselves to be economic migrants. They said, they had wanted to go to Austrailia for a better life, higher wages. They had paid agents between Tk 800 thousand to Tk 1 million for this purpose. . . . .
The detail of their travels are also included in this article and they are quite revealing.
I initially discounted a connection between the two reports as the numbers in the Prothom Alo report varied and the dates did not seem to match. Yet something was niggling at the back on my mind. In one of those 3am flashes, I realised that there IS a connection. Prothom Alo claims 25 people were involved in the arrests in Indonesia on 31st July. The “Pilbara oil rig” group was stopped by “Dephinus” on July 20th. Detained for six days, up until 26/27th July, allow three or four days for a voyage back to Indonesia and that appears to tie the Prothom Alo report on 12th August and the Australian Press reports on 21st July together.
As a part of that report Refugee Rights Network spokeswoman and activist Victoria Martin-Iverson told Fairfax Media “at least 25 to 30 people” were on board the vessel. It’s very, very, very sketchy,” she said.
Everything seems to match up perfectly – – – BUT – – – –
The difficulty is that Ms Victoria Martin-Iverson was of the opinion that this vessel was from Vietnam as a part of a “Second wave” of Vietnamese Catholics fleeing religious persecution.
So, to go back to the beginning, this is a delayed post on a previously reported event which happened in July and if anyone has more information on this event it would be good to find out about it.
* I’m sorry, I have lost the identity of the informant
It is worth noting that these people, while claiming to be refugees, were not fleeing persecution. They were self-claimed “Economic Refugee” looking for a better life. Consequently, it would seem they do not fall under the UNHCR aegis. They are still people and still deserve to be treated humanely.
And an explanation on the size of the amounts paid to the people smugglers. One million Bangaladeshi Taka are worth nearly $AU 18,000.
There is still the unanswered question
Australia has failed
to change human nature.