Greens call for action to help SIEVX survivors

Media Release
20 October 2004

On the third anniversary of the SIEVX tragedy, the Greens NSW are calling for permanent residency to be given to the 7 survivors who eventually made it to Australian shores.

During the federal election of 2001 a series of humanitarian disasters took place including the deaths of 353 people who drowned while on their way to Australia to be reunited with their families.

Greens NSW refugee spokesperson, Lynda Smith said: "Over 400 people had boarded the 19.5 metre fishing vessel the day before in Indonesia.

"Out of the 45 people who survived this disaster, 7 eventually made it to Australian shores and were granted Temporary Protection Visas, the others were accepted by other countries and given permanent residency. "These survivors have suffered enough. The newly returned Howard Government should make amends for its past failings.

"It is time for the Howard Government to finally show some much-needed compassion and, like other countries, grant these people the permanent residency they deserve," Ms Smith said.

Ms Smith also highlighted yesterday's memorial service in Hobart, in which Tasmanians for Refugees and friends unveiled the first permanent memorial at Cornelian Bay, Hobart for the victims of the SIEVX tragedy.

"In conjunction with the Hobart City Council, the people of Tasmania have created a special place for reflection including a bench and memorial plaque overlooking the sea. This is truly a source of inspiration and we encourage other individuals and refugee groups around Australia to contact their local councils and follow the example shown by the people of Tasmania," Ms Smith said.

More information: Lynda Smith,
Greens NSW refugees spokesperson
02 6688 8198
0402 626 416

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