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West Papuans deserve respect not detention

West Papuans deserve respect not detention

Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today welcomed the news that the West Papuan asylum seekers boat has been found and called on the Government to grant these asylum seekers bridging visas instead of throwing them in detention for months, years or indefinitely.

"Australia must do the right thing by assessing these people's claims in Australia. It would be a cruel tragedy to now send these people to Nauru or some other island prison," Senator Nettle said.

"They should be treated in a similar way to the East Timorese who came here, by being given bridging visas with full rights and allowed to live in the community while their claims are assessed.

"We have recently seen an increase in hostility towards members of the West Papuan independence movement by the Indonesia with arrests and reports of increased human rights abuses. It is important that these activists are not returned to such danger. Nor should they be hidden away in one of Australia's offshore detention centres.

"Everyone knows detention ruins lives so the Government has a choice to avert further human tragedy by allowing these West Papuans to live in the community.

"It will be simpler and more humane to grant these people bridging visas until their asylum claims are assessed.

"No-one should be incarcerated in Australia's gulags because everyone knows they ruin lives," Senator Nettle said.

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