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Concern over disappearance of West Papuan boat

Greens write to Downer about West Papuan boat

Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle has written to Foreign Minister Downer requesting that he make inquiries with the Indonesian Government to establish if they have intercepted the boatload of West Papuan asylum seekers currently missing near the Torres Strait.

"I am concerned that the boat carrying West Papuan asylum seekers could have been intercepted by Indonesian authorities en route to Australia. I've contacted the Foreign Minister and requested that he contact the Indonesian Government to ascertain whether or not this has happened," said Senator Nettle.

"If the Indonesians have intercepted this boat it would be a relief that they have not sunk at sea, but I am concerned about their fate at the hands of Indonesian authorities given recent arrests of West Papuan activists and ongoing human rights abuses.

"The Greens are keen to ensure that if this boat is found that the Australian Government will act responsibly and allow these people to come to Australia while their claims for asylum are assessed and not push them back to Indonesia or take them to a third country.

"We don't want another Tampa on our hands. The Greens call on the Government to treat these asylum seekers with dignity and compassion if and when they are found," Senator Nettle said.

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