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Rally for West Papuan Asylum Seekers

Rally for West Papuan Asylum Seekers

12 pm on Wed 25th January at DIMIA Office

313 Adelaide Street, Brisbane City

Papuan Asylum Seekers must be returned to the Mainland

Brisbane supporters of the West Papua will rally on Wednesday 25th January at midday outside of DIMIA offices to protest the removal of the West Papuan asylum seekers from Queensland to Christmas Island. The Rally will also challenge the Minister Amanda Vanstone to recognise the unique circumstances of the Papuans and return them to mainland Australia.

“Due to the highly politicised issues around these asylum seekers it is imperative that their claims be processed on the mainland open to the scrutiny of all Australians,” said Damian Legoullon, spokesperson for AWPA.

“Indigenous people of West Papua have a strong connection to their land, they are not coming to Australia to 'get a better life', they are coming here for protection. They want a better life in their own country.

“The asylum seekers deserve access to well established networks of legal advice and support in Australian cities such as Brisbane, Darwin, Sydney or Melbourne.

"The Papuan asylum seekers are the victims of a failure in our foreign policy to address the militarisation of Papua and the subsequent human rights crisis.

“We call upon the Howard Government not to isolate this issue as an immigration issue but accept our foreign policy obligations to protect the Papuan asylum seekers.


The AWPA also calls upon the Australian government to recognise the growing evidence of human rights abuses by Indonesian military forces in West Papua with sanctions on military aid and training.

“The Australian Government must support the monitoring of human rights in West Papua by the International Community and NGOs that are excluded at present,” concluded Damian.

For more Comment, Contact Damian on 0434 810 652.

Open Letter to Ministers Vanstone and Downer Attached.

Australia West Papua Association Brisbane supports non-violent self-determination for the people of West Papua. http:/www.geocities.com/awpab


Open Letter to Ministers Amanda Vanstone and Alexander Downer on West Papua and West Papuan Asylum Seekers on behalf of the Australian West Papua Association, Brisbane.

Calum Hyslop

Australian West Papua Association, Brisbane

Hon Senator Amanda Vanstone

Minister for Immigration, Multiculturalism and Indigenous Affairs

and

Hon Mr Alexander Downer MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Dear Ministers,

The Australian West Papua Association, Brisbane, a group of Australians from all walks of life, is deeply concerned by the actions that your departments have taken in respect to West Papua and the West Papuan Asylum Seekers.

Minister Vanstone, it is on the public record that your department has lacked transparency and due process when dealing with asylum seeker claims. Considering the highly politicised nature of West Papuans claiming asylum in Australia we ask you to return the West Papuans to mainland Australia. This will enable all Australians to see that the West Papuans claims to be processed in a manner that fulfils Australia’s obligations under International Treaty. Failure to do so will send a message to the Australian community that your Department has learnt very little from recent inquiries into its culture of secrecy and lack of due process.

Minister Downer, in 2005, the U.S. Congress condemned human rights abuses in Papua, and parliamentary committees in Britain, Ireland and New Zealand also expressed concerns about injustice, crimes against humanity and military impunity. Why is it that you continue to remain silent on human rights abuses in Papua when we are the Province’s closest neighbour? It is well known that the Special Autonomy Laws for Papua of 2001 have effectively been overturned by the contradictory 2003 Laws dividing Papua into three causing widespread resentment in Papua.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a non-partisan and highly influential body on Foreign Affairs in the US has criticised the ‘do nothing approach to the crisis in Papua and is … concerned about armed conflict displacing civilians and causing human hardship. Deadly violence in Papua could send populations across borders to PNG and across the sea to Australia. It could spread to other conflict-prone areas in Indonesia, thereby triggering widespread violence and endangering (Indonesian) national unity. In contrast, progress in Papua would establish momentum toward enhanced conflict prevention nationwide…. Your Department’s continued silence on these matters are putting Australian and Indonesian lives at risk by ignoring the possible escalation of the crisis across the entire archipelago.

Yan Christian Warinussy, a Indigenous West Papuan Human Rights Lawyer described human rights abuses as …carried out with total impunity by members of Indonesia's armed forces including torture, rape, summary executions, arbitrary arrests, disappearances, the killing of indigenous leaders and civilians alike, the displacement of indigenous populations and confiscation of their lands… . Why does your government continue to follow a policy of welcoming and training human rights abusers from the Indonesian security forces into Australia and yet locks up the very people that they are abusing? What sort of message are we sending to Indonesia as it tries to move towards a more democratic and stable society?

It is for these reasons, AWPA Brisbane demands that:

• the 43 West Papuan Asylum Seekers be returned to the mainland to enable an open and transparent process for their application of asylum

• the Australian Government investigate and end its policy of training Indonesian human rights abusers in the Indonesian security forces and encourage stronger ties with Indonesian civil society.

• investigate human rights abuses throughout Papua that are causing resentment and instability in the province. Failure to do so may have serious consequences for Indonesians and Australians alike.

Yours Sincerely

Calum Hyslop

On behalf of AWPA Brisbane

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