Indonesia opposes "turn back boat" policy: Marty

Indonesia opposes "turn back boat" policy: Marty

Indonesia's foreign minister Marty Natalegawa (ANTARAFOTO/Fanny Octavianus)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia opposes the turning back policy of illegal immigrants entering the country, as it is not a comprehensive solution to the people smuggling issue, stated Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, here on Tuesday.

Marty stated so while answering journalists question on a report indicating that the Australian authority, on Monday (Jan. 6), had turn back a boat containing illegal immigrants to Indonesian waters. The immigrants intended to seek asylum in Australia.

"The report about the recent incident is being handled by Coordinating Ministry for Politic, Law and Security. From the point of view of foreign policy, Indonesia opposes the policy of turning back the boat because it will not comprehensively solve the problem," Marty emphasized.

The minister called for a better handling of the illegal immigrant and people smuggling issues.

Earlier it was reported that the Australian navy has driven illegal immigrants from Africa and the Middle East to Indonesian waters. The 45 boat people including nine women were from Sudan, Eritrea, Somali, Ghana, Egypt, Yemen and Lebanon.

They were entering the sea territory of Australia on Monday, when they were forcibly made to turn to Indonesian waters, Rote Ndao police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hidayat stated.

Finally, Rote Ndao police picked the refugees up from the Indonesian island, where they were stranded. They are now in police detention in Rote Ndao, Hidayat confirmed on Monday.

The Australian navy provided the illegal immigrants with life buoys and communication equipment before driving them to Indonesian waters, Hidayat stated, quoting a leader of the boat people.

Head of the Kupang Immigration office Silvester Sililaba stated that the people would be accommodated at a former immigration office building as the Kupang Immigration detention house is already overloaded.

Meanwhile international law analyst from Indonesia University, Hikmahanto Juwana, pointed out that Australia was not being a good neighbor by turning back the illegal immigrants boat.

"The Indonesian government must protest against this action by Australia. If Australia dares to equip the immigrants with life buoys and communication devices before turning the boat back to Indonesian waters, Indonesian authority can also do the same," Hikmahanto retorted.