Towing the Boats back, surely not?

Oosterman Treats Blog

Tow back boats by Australian Navy Tow back boats by Australian Navy

(Reuters) – On New Year’s day, 45 asylum seekers in a ramshackle wooden boat slid ashore on a small island off the Australian city of Darwin. Four others had been swept overboard that morning in rough seas and were believed dead.

The survivors, from Africa and the Middle East, stumbled onto the beach, thankful to find refuge on Australian soil. Or so they thought.

Within an hour, an Australian warship and other vessels arrived. Military personnel forced the asylum seekers back onto their wooden boat and towed it out to sea. Their destination: Indonesia.

Determining precisely what happened is difficult. But interviews with five of the passengers reconstructs a journey they say was marked by physical and verbal abuse.

Their accounts highlight just how far the newly elected conservative government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott is going to meet his election promise to…

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4 thoughts on “Towing the Boats back, surely not?

    1. A tragic loss of life it is, dear IT. Thanks for commenting.

      People who go out in ramshackle boats into the open sea to reach Australia must be really desperate. They come from countries where life for them is terribly unsafe. They usually come via Indonesia where they cannot see a future for themselves. The survivors of this particular boat apparently have been made to go back to Indonesia by the Australian navy.

      The whole refugee problem is an immense problem. Where should these poor people go to?

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