Kevin Rudd might think his new asylum policy (essentially, “bugger off”) is working… but people are still coming, still risking their lives, still dying in the process. What Rudd (and all politicians in all countries) fail to understand is the simple psychological motive that drives refugees to (1) ignore politicians, and (2) continue risking their lives. Let’s spell it out in words that even a prime minister can understand: If your home country is a dangerous war-torn disease-infested totalitarian craphole, you will risk anything to escape to somewhere better.
Dozens missing in deadly boat capsize near Indonesia
At least one person has died and dozens are missing after a boat carrying asylum seekers heading to Australia sank off the Indonesian island of Java.
Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority said a rescue operation was under way.
About 100 people have been pulled from the water, but as many as 170 people were reported to have been on board.
The incident comes days after Australian PM Kevin Rudd announced that refugees arriving by boat would no longer be settled in Australia.
In a bid to tackle an increase in the number of boat arrivals, Australia’s new asylum policy will see refugees sent to Papua New Guinea (PNG) for processing.
The boat, which was carrying passengers from Sri Lanka and Iran, reportedly started smoking and taking on water shortly after departure from Cidaun village on Java on Tuesday evening.
“I am the only one back,” one man travelling with 61 Iranians told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
Australian media reports said the body of a child had been recovered.
Australian officials said the Indonesian authorities were conducting the rescue operation.
It is the latest in a series of deadly incidents involving migrants travelling by boat to Australia. Last week, four people died when a boat carrying 150 people sank off the coast of Christmas Island.
Christmas Island lies 1,600 miles north-west of the mainland and is the closest part of Australia to Indonesia. It is the key transit hub for people-smugglers.
Australia has seen a sharp rise in the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat in recent months.
Prime Minister Rudd said the new asylum policy was aimed at dissuading people from making the dangerous journey to Australia by boat.
However, the policy has been condemned by human rights organisations and PNG officials who view Australia as shirking obligations and outsourcing its problem to a developing nation.