Put yourself in Indonesian's shoes

Just imagine this. A smuggler's boat looks like just this one carrying illicit-drugs in the stead was to have landed on the Australian soil. The Australian Federal Police and Custom Officers begun questioning the Indonesian drug smuggler. To their horror, the Border Dept. and Officers found out that bringing that drug smuggler to an Australian court would have threatened government's political survival. Therefore, the government minister had decided just to put "sugar back on the table". That drug smuggler was paid sums of money and instructed him to transport the illicit-cargo back to Indonesia. Would it be a right and proper thing for Australians to do? How would the Indonesian feel ? What about the Laws against smuggling of human or contraband goods which Australian and Indonesian governments had promised to serve and promote ?

Again, the Republic of Indonesia has population of 250 millions. Any private citizen of Indonesia, certain of his own criminal circumstances, can break the smuggling laws of both Australia and Indonesia. The Government of Indonesia, surely, cannot be blamed nor be held to account for such crime being committed by its own private citizens. We must ask then, why, our government (I did not voted them in, OK.) acting in such a sneaky way of bribing these human smugglers ? Why such instances of people smugglings being dealt in proper transparent manner and in a decent way between the two governments ? Why "our" government cannot talk about these issues with the Indonesian government ?

Friends, the boat in the picture wasn't actually one that came to Australian shore. It was at the Asian boat crisis in Bay of Bengal last May 2015 ( See ABC 4 Corner, Journey into Hell. http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2015/06/22/4257490.htm ) . In that incident, there were about 3000+ trafficking victims stranded near the coasts of Thailand, Burma, Indonesia and Malaysia. These trafficking victims and the migrant boats issues, unlike that of Australia's shameful Tampa incident of 2001, hadn't been politically manipulated by the governments there. To their credit, the governments in Asian region had pull resources together and co-operated to solve this crisis with the helps of United Nations and IOM. Whilst Royal Thai Government had mounted a stringent crackdown on the smugglers, Indonesia and Malaysia offered temporary refuge for those trafficking victims. The Philippines offered somewhat longer refuge for those victims that needs processing. Even the Military Government of Burma, known for oppressing human rights of its citizens, had cooperated. Burmese Government took its share of trafficking victims which its own navy had intercepted. About 700 of those boatpeople were taken into custody, sorted out with the help of IOM, and then the majority them found to be Bangladeshi nationals were handed back to their own government. This is what a regional co-operation can ensure getting a disastrous humanitarian crisis to a much better outcomes.

Asian boat crisis May 2015

Coincidentally, that Asian boat crisis took place about the same time the Australian government bribed two Indonesian people smugglers. What was the government's rationale behind paying up the smugglers ? Why isn't there any government-to-government level talks with Indonesia on these issues ? Or why, the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, not even dare to show up her face at the 29-May-2015 Bangkok regional seminar on human trafficking ( http://www.netipr.org/policy/node/47 ) ?

Narrow, short-sighted and simplistic in its outlook, this Liberal/National Coalition government is certainly a diplomatic inept when comes to its neighbours and the Asian region. The rhetoric about "Tough on Crimes and the people smuggling trades" was promoted for all us to hear. But, where are the real actions for combating people smuggling ? Is it bribing out smugglers to keep away from Australia ? I don't think so. This is not the proper government political action -- it is a criminal conduct.

Again, an Executive government is corrupt not just when its ministers secretly took bribe in millions and pocketed for themselves. A government is also charged corrupt when it engaged in certain criminal conduct, or circumventing the laws being passed by Parliament so as to serve political interests of executive government. This is an impeachable offence, just like that of The Watergate Scandal. -- In Solidarity, U Ne Oo.

Tags: