For Australia asylum seekers, the idea of boarding an already over crowded Indonesian fishing boat for a trip across the open seas is a whole lot more desirable than dealing with the Taliban.
The New York Daily News reports that Rahmatullah Afzaly, along with thousands of other refugees have already made it to Indonesia, but that is just one stop on the way to their final destination: Australia.
Those asylum seekers are often unwilling to stay in Indonesia for years while their cases are heard. Instead, they opt for boarding smugglers’ boats in order to attempt the 500-kilometer (300-mile) trip to Australia’s Christmas Island, according to The Huffington Post.
Rahmatullah Afzaly understands the reason they decide to board the overcrowded boats, explaining:
“We know that we can die on our way … but there is no life in our country. If we can reach the safe country, then we will have a better future. That’s why we choose to take whatever risk.”
Concern over asylum seekers making the journey from Indonesia to Christmas Island has escalated, especially in the past three weeks when two boats capsized and another was rescued in rough seas, all while trying to reach Christmas Island. In all, more than 90 people are believed dead, and hundreds more have drowned in the past few years in similar accidents, which are becoming commonplace, reports The New York Daily News.
ABC News reports that Australian Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare stated about the rescue efforts for asylum seekers:
“We know that people smugglers tell the people on the boat to ring Australian search and rescue. Sometimes it’s a false alarm, sometimes it’s the real thing. We treat every one of those calls seriously because our top priority is saving lives at sea.”
The political opposition in Australia has pledged to begin turning boats back to Indonesia if they win elections next year, but the current government denounces that plan, warning that it would jeopardize even more lives.