The headline to this story is all about a fear that the Australian government might put “chillis” in the food of illegal aliens (aka asylum seekers) occupying an Australian ship in a standoff now 3 weeks old. Titled, “Chilli weapon ruled out in asylum seeker boat standoff,” I thought the story should more appropriately be titled as I have it above. Incidentally I came across this story after reporting on the “boat people” that Indonesia is sick of, here.
CHILLIS and water rationing will not be used to force 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers off an Australian Customs ship stuck in a standoff in Indonesia.
Officials denied they would tamper with the asylum seekers’ food to help break their resolve, despite claims by refugee advocates the chilli solution had been used before.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Australia was prepared to play a waiting game as the saga entered its 12th day.
The Oceanic Viking remains anchored 10 nautical miles off Indonesia’s Bintan Island as the Federal Government attempts to navigate around a diplomatic stumble that saw local officials refusing to allow the Sri Lankans to land, and a vow by the asylum seekers to remain on the ship.
Many have started a hunger strike.
Mr Rudd has not ruled out using force to get them off the ship, but suggested the patience of Indonesia and Australia would win out.
“Indonesia has an abundance of patience in handling these matters. Australia also has great patience in handling these complex matters,” he told Parliament.
Mr Rudd also ruled out cash incentives to persuade the Sri Lankans to end their protest and disembark.
In my view the above is your typical leftwing reporting. The charge that the government would fool with the food of the illegal aliens puts the government on the defensive right off the bat making the illegals more sympathetic characters. In the meantime, the part of this story that should have been highlighted is that a high level Sri Lankan official is telling the Australian government not to set a precedent, let these Tamils in and possibly open a floodgate to more. He also says they pose a threat to Australia. The UK and the US have both designated the Tamil Tigers a terrorist group, although it isn’t clear from this report whether it has been confirmed that Tamil Tigers are on board.
With no end in sight to the standoff, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia warned the group represented a security threat.
“They pose a threat to peace and security of Australia,” Mr Senaka Walgampaya said.
There are more than 250,000 people in camps in Sri Lanka as a result of a 20-year civil war that ended this year.
Mr Walgampaya rejects claims Tamils in Sri Lanka are being persecuted.
I first mentioned this story here, but I had no idea this has been going on for 3 weeks.
Wasn’t it only a few days ago that I reported that the EU wanted to emulate Australian immigration policies and practices, here.