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Australia shuts the door on West Papuans

Australia shuts the door on West Papuans

Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle said today's effective excision of mainland Australia from the Migration Zone means the government is turning its back on West Papua - an outcome that will appal the Australian public.

"John Howard is wrong if he thinks Australians are going to support
Indonesia writing Australia's immigration policy," said Senator Nettle.

"Australians do not want to see West Papuans abandoned and dragged off to other countries to please the Indonesian government.

"The new policy effectively excises the entire Australian continent from the Migration Zone. We are shutting the door on refugees from West Papua and other lands and shirking our obligations under the Refugee Convention.

"Not only has the government abandoned the human rights for West
Papuans, it is effectively declaring war on West Papuans who seek
Australia's protection from the bullets and repression of the Indonesian military.

"There is no Australian consulate in West Papua to legally ask for asylum. Those who flee to Papua New Guinea are often pursued by the Indonesian military. West Papuans under threat may have no choice but to flee by boat to Australia - and now the government is seeking to close that door.

"The West Papuans were abandoned by Australia in the 1960s because of Cold War relations. It is appalling that we are sacrificing their rights once again to please Indonesia.

"Australians do not want our navy used to turn desperate West Papuan asylum seekers back into the hands of their oppressors. This is a misuse of our defence force.

"The Greens will oppose the legislation and will campaign in the community to return to an immigration policy based on compassion, generosity and international law and ensure the Australian government stands up for the rights of West Papuans."

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