from Working People’s Association, Malaysia
Some 255 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka since 11 October 2009 still live in a wooden boat leaning on Harbor Indah Kiat, Merak, Banten. Merak in Banten Province is a small city 120 km or about 3 hours drive from Jakarta. The wooden boat they use is about 100 feet2 (30.48m2). On the ship they share a place among 195 men, 29 women, one of them is 5 month pregnant, and 31 children. They are Tamil who came from some areas in Sri Lanka such as Jaffna, Batticaloa, Mullaittivu and Colombo. They left their home country, Sri Lanka, a result from prolonged conflict between the government and LTTE armed groups. There are six main reasons why they left Sri Lanka: Racial Discrimination, oppression by LTTE to join them, genocide, persecution, kidnapping and murder. Now in Sri Lanka over 250,000 people are suffering in so-called refugee camps, which are in fact torture camps. In all parts of Sri Lanka Tamil-speaking people have been arrested and killed.