|Home||Skilled visas||Business visas||Temporary visas||Free assessments|
28 January 2014
Indonesia is investigating claims from asylum seekers that Australian border guards intercepted boats sailing from Indonesian waters attempting to reach Australian territory; they then forced the boats to return to Indonesian waters by force.
There are reports that Australian vessels fired into the air above the heads of asylum seekers to 'encourage them' to turn back. This would be contrary to the 1951 Refugee Convention, of which Australia is a signatory.
Australia has also admitted that Australian government vessels have 'inadvertently' entered Indonesian territorial waters. Australia has issued a formal apology to the Indonesian government.
The Coalition appointed Lieutenant General Angus Campbell to head Operation Sovereign Borders. The operation is intended to prevent people smugglers from successfully bringing asylum seekers to Australian territory.
Operation Sovereign Borders is a multi-agency operation which employs the Australian navy, immigration officers and police. The Australian Chief of Navy, Admiral Griggs has contacted the chief of the Indonesian navy to explain how 'positional errors' which were 'in breach of Australian government policy' occurred.
Immigration minister Scott Morrison also admitted that Australian vessels have encroached into Indonesian waters and has told journalists that an official apology has been delivered to the Indonesian government.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian authorities are investigating allegations that boats were illegally turned back by Australian forces. One boat was, according to those on board, within sight of Christmas Island when it was intercepted and taken back to international waters. The boat, according to those on board, had insufficient fuel and drifted for six days.
They were then put into small lifeboats and left some distance off the coast in Indonesian waters; to reach Indonesia would take about three hours by boat.
While Mr Morrison has apologised for the Australian incursion into Indonesian waters, he has not apologised for other actions taken as part of Operation Sovereign Borders.
He said that people smugglers, and those intending to seek asylum should be aware that 'this Australian government will take the actions necessary to protect Australian sovereignty [and] to stop the boats'.
General Campbell also refused to comment on the allegations but he did confirm that Australian forces have bought a consignment of lifeboats.
The most popular route is from the island of Java to the remote Australian outpost, Christmas Island. Christmas Island is 2,700 miles North West of the Western Australian capital Perth but only 500km from Java.
Under international law, if a migrant arrives in a country and claims asylum, that country cannot summarily turn him back until that claim has been properly investigated.
Workpermit.com is a specialist visa consultancy with 25 years' experience dealing with visa applications. We are OISC registered. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to the UK or your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.