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Tamil asylum seekers appeal for refuge in Australia

world Updated: Oct 15, 2009 12:35 IST
PTI
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Over 250 Tamil asylum seekers fleeing Sri Lanka have appealed to Australia to grant them refuge after the Indonesian navy intercepted their boat on its way to this country.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had earlier this week asked Indonesia to intercept the boat carrying the asylum seekers, and the vessel is struck in an Indonesian island.

"We are Sri Lankan refugees, please take us to your country, we can't live in Sri Lanka. Please help us and save our lives. We are your children. Please think of us," an AAP report quoted a nine-year-old girl Brindah, who is on the boat, as appealing to the Australian government.

The report said Brindah is one of the Tamils crammed on to the bow of a rickety wooden cargo boat moored alongside an Indonesian navy ship in Merak, western Java.

A small group of journalists were allowed to meet the asylum seekers after Indonesian navy apprehended their boat enroute to Australia.

"They were sitting shoulder to shoulder, as if posing for a giant class photo," the report said.

The asylum seekers have been trying to reach Australia for months and also spent a month in Malaysian jungle before joining the boat, which they have now been aboard for two weeks, it said.

Their spokesman, Alex, said they can endure much more, adding they will stay on board until they are offered asylum in a Western country such as Australia.

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