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Australia West Papua Association calls on Government

Australia East Timor Friendship Association

Australia West Papua Association (SA)

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister, the Hon. John Howard and the
Ministers for Immigration, Foreign Affairs and Defence.

The Australia-East Timor Friendship Association (SA) and the Australia West Papua Association (SA) welcome the United Nations Report based on the findings of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (The Australian, 19/1/06) detailing atrocities and gross human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian Military (TNI) during its occupation of East Timor.

The same policy of genocide responsible for the deaths of 180,000 East Timorese has operated in West Papua since Indonesia occupied that country in 1962 and has resulted in at least 200,000 deaths and enormous suffering.

This makes nonsense of any claim that the West Papuans who landed in Cape York are not genuine refugees fleeing from persecution. Their arrival highlights the desperate plight of West Papuans who yearn for freedom - one was jailed merely for raising the West Papuan flag.

This is an opportunity for the Australian Government to become a more
responsible member of the international community by opposing terrorism in our region and giving sanctuary to some of its victims.

The AWPA and the AETFA call on the Australian Government to:

. recognise the recently arrived West Papuans as genuine refugees and release them into the community while their claims are being assessed;

. process these people on the Australian mainland, not Christmas Island where they will have no access to legal advice or human rights
monitoring and where the actions of Immigration authorities are not subject to public scrutiny;

. under no circumstances allow them to be interviewed by Indonesian

. issue them with temporary protection visas with full rights.

The best way Australia can stem the flow of refugees to our shores is to take a stand against the oppression which forces them to flee their homelands. The AWPA and the AETFA call upon the Australian Government to acknowledge the implications of the Commission's Report and cease all cooperation with the TNI, particularly training and the provision of arms.

Miriam Tonkin
Chairperson, AETFA (SA)

Dave Arkins
Chairperson, AWPA (SA)

© Scoop Media

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