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Kids Dumped Under Guard Offshore; Giant Leap Back

Kids Dumped Under Guard Offshore; Giant Leap Backwards for Prime Minister

Refugee Advocates say that the recent transfer to Christmas Island of a group of 43 West Papuan asylum seekers is a giant leap backwards for the Prime Minister.

Kaye Bernard who worked for the release of the Vietnamese Refugee families with 16 children who were held on the Island for up to 2 years, said, "blindly ignoring individual circumstances and adhering to an arbitrary offshore policy is a weakness the Government must overcome" and added "the latest fiasco with the West Papuans may be another breach of the changes to Australia's immigration detention policy negotiated by Petro Georgiou in June 2005"

"At the moment all the asylum seeker children are held under guard and isolated as a direct result of a sharp degree of inflexiblity by the Govenrment, reminiscent of the day's before a 3 year old born in detention named Naomi leong coupled with the Vivian Alvarez and Cornelia Rau tragedies that blew open the problems with the implementation of a bad set of Immigration laws." said Mrs Bernard

Along with the West Papuan children held under guard since their arrival on Christmas Island, 2 west Timorese asylum seeker infants aged 1 and 2 were taken back under guard yesterday as the Immigration Department grappled with the international reports of the possiblity of a leak of the identity of the West Papuans.

Mrs Bernard said "I do not understand how the Prime Minister can be so indecisive when in the middle of last year John Howard granted newborn Michael Andrew Tran the right to stay on the mainland and now in the case of the West Timorese and West Papuan Children he has backed them being banished to Christmas Island."

Mrs Bernard said "The only dumping that needs to be done by Australia is the Goverment's expensive offshore detention policy that only prolongs the processing of Refugees and simply costs too much."

ENDS

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