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Aust. must ask: why more Papuan asylum seekers?

Government must ask: why more Papuan asylum seekers?

Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today called on the government to bring the West Papua asylum seekers to the mainland for processing and not send them to Christmas Island. She also urged the Government to look at why more people have fled West Papua.

"The Government should not be surprised that more asylum seekers are arriving from West Papua," said Senator Nettle.

"West Papuans are fleeing because of the persecution and injustice they face in their homeland at the hands of Indonesian authorities. The situation in West Papua has deteriorated since the first boat of asylum seekers left West Papua.

"These latest asylum seekers arrive in the midst of diplomatic difficulties between Australia and Indonesia. These problems must have no bearing on the need to hear their asylum claims fairly.

"Christmas Island and other offshore detention centres are remote and expensive places to put asylum seekers who need support whilst their claims for asylum are being assessed.

"The latest arrival should prompt a re-think of Australia's attitude to West Papua. The government can no longer ignore the repression and injustice taking place just across the sea.

"The Australian Government must explain the contradiction of recognising the repression West Papuans face and yet continuing to support the people that inflict this repression- Indonesian authorities.

"Mr Howard and Downer must not continue to utter diplomatic niceties when the facts on the ground in West Papua contradict their words. They should show leadership and raise the rights of the West Papuans with Indonesia and the United Nations.

"Unless there is a durable solution to the repression of the Melanesian people of West Papua and genuine self-determination, we should not be surprised to see more West Papuans fleeing their homeland and seeking our protection."

© Scoop Media

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