Australian government urged to grant visas to Siev-X survivorsLast Updated 09/06/2005, 08:14:41
Refugee advocate groups in Australia have called on the government to grant permanent protection to the survivors of a people-smuggling operation, in which 353 people died.
The vessel, known as Siev-X, with 400 asylum seekers onboard, capsized between Indonesia and Australia's Christmas Island.
An Australian court this week found Iraqi-born Khaleed Daoed guilty of helping to organise the voyage from Indonesia in 2001.
Three men now living in the Australian city of Perth, lost their wives, children and other relatives in the tragedy.
Perth refugee activist, Kay Bernard, says the government should grant them and other survivors permanent visas.
"These men cannot return to their country of origin, and I would urge Australia with the decision today to put an end to these men's misery," she said.
"It's one thing for this people-smuggler, who's traded in the misery and the loss of their family members, to be convicted, but Australia's got to stand up and offer these men permanent protection."