July 24 - At least 157 suspected asylum seekers are rescued after their boat sank off the Indonesian coast, which underlines the need for policy change says Australian PM Kevin Rudd. Lily Grimes reports.
They lived to tell the tale, but this wasn't the happy ending they were hoping for. 157 people were rescued when a boat sank off the coast of Indonesia on Wednesday. Three of the suspected asylum seekers drowned, while the survivors ended up at this shelter in Java. The number of those attempting the perilous journey to Australia each year by boat is not known, but more than 15,000 asylum seekers successfully made it this year. It's a political hot potato and last week Australia slammed the door on would-be refugees with a deal sending all boat arrivals to Papua New Guinea. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said this fatal incident sends a strong message to people smugglers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA, KEVIN RUDD SAYING: "Stop sending people by boat to Australia. We are seeing too many drownings, we are seeing too many sinkings, too many innocent people being lost at sea." Since 2001, about 1,000 people have died while trying to reach Australian territory in unseaworthy boats.