Monday, August 28, 2006

Lack of integrity one thing but lack of respect for human rights and the sanctity of life another, writes Robin Rothfield in an opinon piece

Robin writes:

"As today is the fifth anniversary of the ill-fated voyage from Indonesia that led to the Tampa incident, it is timely to look critically at the fallout, not just for John Howard, but the Labor party.

It is apparent that Howard, when directing that the Tampa return to Indonesia, failed to consider that his orders could put lives at risk — lives of the crew as well as of the asylum seekers.

Then there was the failure to arrange for civilian doctors and nurses from Christmas Island to visit the Tampa to treat the sick.

Howard's obsession with the control of borders meant that the suffering of the survivors was ignored. Even permission for one of Captain Rinnan's boats to go ashore and get medical supplies and a doctor was denied. The Red Cross was also blocked from the Tampa.

This inhumane policy was continued with later boats. A pregnant woman aboard SIEV 3 was denied permission to be flown to hospital even though the request had been sought by a military officer on grounds of possible delivery complications.

On board Harapindah, a navy doctor requested that a pregnant woman be allowed ashore. This request also was refused and the woman experienced uterine bleeding for one month.

Most tragic of all was the sinking of SIEV X on October 19, 2001, in which 353 mainly Iraqi refugees lost their lives. This boat sank 300 kilometres north of Christmas Island, within Australia's operational zone as announced by John Howard on September 1, 2001."

No comments: