News

    Afghan Asylum-Seekers Found Near Bali Coast

    Kate Lamb

    Australian refugee groups have made contact with some 60 asylum-seekers adrift in waters off Bali after concerns their vessel had capsized. While authorities now hope to rescue the group, the refugees, including ethnic Hazaras from Afghanistan, now face detention in Indonesia.

    After a distress call was made Thursday evening and all contact with the vessel was lost, authorities reported no sign of the boat Friday morning.

    The boat was last reported off Sumbawa, a small island east of Bali.  Sixty asylum seekers, including children, are thought to be on board.

    Ian Rintoul of the Australian Refugee Action Coalition says hopes of finding survivors were dim until the group received a surprise phone call Friday afternoon.

    “No, no, the boat hasn’t gone down," insisted Rintoul,  "we just got a call about 10 minutes ago, we got a call from the boat. It's still floating, it is still adrift. I’d given up because we hadn’t heard anything from 2 o’clock, but it was from the same number and the same people… The engine has definitely failed, they are still needing assistance.”

    While contact has been established, authorities are searching by land and sea to identify the exact location of the boat.

    Thousands of refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, make the perilous journey through Indonesian waters ever year in the hope they will be granted asylum in Australia.

    Indonesia is not a signatory to the U.N. refugee convention and often jails and deports asylum seekers awaiting refugee status.

    The Australian government has drawn criticism in recent years for urging Indonesian authorities to pick up asylum seekers so they are processed in Indonesia, rather than Australia.

    Ian Rintoul says the refugee coalition is still waiting to see what happens with this latest boat.

    “If they are rescued by Indonesian authorities that may well be placed in detention in Indonesia and that is one of our concerns about the whole situation in Indonesia and the pressure from the Australian government pushing people to get on boats that aren’t as well prepared as they could be,” Rintoul said.

    Last Sunday a Singapore-registered tanker rescued around 120 Australia-bound asylum seekers, mostly Afghans and some Iranians, from their sinking wooden boat.

    They refused to get off the docked tanker for two days, saying they wanted to continue to Australia where their rights are more protected.

    In December, a boat carrying around 250 mostly Afghan and Iranian asylum seekers sank in Indonesian waters on its way to Christmas Island. Only 47 survived.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora