List Of SIEVX Survivors Provided To Asylum Seekers On Manus Island But Not To Australian Senate|
by Marg Hutton
3 June 2003
Earlier today, whilst trawling through the media clippings on the Parliament website I chanced upon an article by Kevin Ricketts from October 2001 that claimed that the asylum seekers on Manus Island had been provided with a list of those who survived the sinking of SIEVX soon after the tragedy.
Ricketts also claimed that press clippings about the tragedy were flown in and a satellite TV provided so that the Manus Island refugees could 'monitor news on the Indonesian disaster' (thus ensuring that the deterrent lesson of SIEVX would be quickly learnt and passed on).
That the Manus Island refugees should receive a list of the names of the SIEVX survivors within days of the tragedy, whilst the Australian Parliament has to date been unable to obtain this same information is very reminiscent of what happened with the SIEVX DFAT cable which was leaked to an Indonesian Business magazine website on 23 October 2001 and yet 'remained a mystery' to the Australian Senate for another sixteen months.
Readers will be aware of our efforts to obtain a list of all the passengers who embarked on SIEVX (1, 2 ).
During the last year Senator Collins has become interested in this issue and has also attempted to obtain this information.
In Senate Estimates last November she asked the AFP if they had knowledge of any passenger lists related to SIEVX (QoN 56e).
The AFP replied that they knew of 3 lists -
- those who boarded the vessel
- those who disembarked prior to the sinking
- those who survived the sinking
In February Senator Collins asked the AFP to provide these lists (QoN 121). Their response to this question was instructive.
They refused to produce the full list of passengers on the grounds that it would compromise a confidential source. A list of 23 names of people who disembarked was provided - but with no indication as to age, gender or current location. With regard to the list of survivors, a document was provided in which more than half the names were blacked out - with no comment about this blatant censorship!
It is hard to believe that nearly two years after the event we still do not know the names of all those who perished and all those who survived the SIEVX disaster.
It is perhaps understandable that we are being denied the names of the survivors - as they could provide us with information about the voyage which may help to confirm suspicions about Australian complicity in this Affair. For example, it is noteworthy that the details of the Hussein family (of which there were 6 survivors) has been blacked out. On arrival back in Jakarta after the sinking, Karim Jaber Hussein was chosen by the survivors as their representative to deal with the media, and another member of his family group, Ahmed Hussein, was the first to speak publicly about the ships that survivors claimed watched but did not rescue them...
But what possible reason is there to continue to suppress the names of the dead other than to try and keep the human face of this tragedy well hidden?
In our homepage article of 31 October last year, we commented that the bodies of those who died on SIEVX were never recovered. Today I came across another article that suggests that this may not be true. We are investigating and will report back with further information when it becomes available.