- Title: INDONESIA/FILE: Government passes new law against people smuggling
- Date: 9th April 2011
- Summary: MERAK, BANTEN PROVINCE, INDONESIA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF OFFICIALS TAKING DATA FROM ASYLUM SEEKERS AT PORT MORE OF OFFICIALS UNDER PITCHED TENT TAKING INFORMATION FROM ASYLUM SEEKERS AT PORT PEOPLE LEAVING CLOTHES TO DRY ON PAVEMENT AT PORT VARIOUS OF ASYLUM SEEKERS PREPARING TO LEAVE PORT ASYLUM SEEKERS AND POLICE NEAR BUSES AT PORT VARIOUS OF ASYLUM SEEKERS LEAVING PORT AFTER LIVING IN PORT FOR NEARLY FOUR MONTHS
- Embargoed: 24th April 2011 13:00
- Location: Indonesia
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVAAJOTGM1O412AJ58OZKDFVF5XG
- Story Text: Indonesia's parliament passed a new law on Thursday (April 7) that criminalises people smuggling, part of an effort to reduce the number of asylum seekers stopping in Indonesia on their way to Australia.
The new law, which allows improved co-ordination between immigration investigators and police in dealing with immigration violations, apprehends officials and individuals found complicit in people smuggling by deliberately neglecting standard operating procedures.
They could now face a prison term of up to 15 years and fines up to 1.5 billion Indonesian rupiah or 173,000 U.S. dollars.
"This law severely punishes immigration officials, police and others who are involved in people smuggling," said Ichsan Sulistyo, a member of parliament.
Indonesia is a frequent transit point for asylum seekers aiming to get to Australia from conflict-torn countries, including Iran, Iraq, Sri-Lanka and Afghanistan.
"Even though our country is not a final destination, we still have to bear responsibility for those who transit through our country to Australia," said Sulistyo.
Immigrants moving by boat are believed to have used Indonesian people smugglers to ship them to Australia where they end up seeking refugee status and asylum.
Australia has tried to appease voter anger on the issue by negotiating with East Timor on setting up a regional immigration detention centre, which would be used to process asylum seekers under international law. The centre would be funded by Australia, but Timor said the country is not ready for that step.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
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