West Papuans in Torres Strait still imprisoned
West Papuans in Torres Strait still imprisoned after 14 days: face return or imprisonment on Nauru
Greens Immigration Spokesperson, Senator Kerry Nettle, today established through questions in the Senate estimates process that three West Papuan men are still being detained in the Torres Strait by the Department of Immigration and face imprisonment on Nauru if they cannot be returned to Papua New Guinea.
Departmental officials confirmed that three men are being held in a hotel in the Torres Strait Islands guarded by GSL officers; they have made a claim for asylum in Australia but have not and may not have that claim assessed.
The department has not yet been able to
arrange their return to Papua New Guinea under the terms of
the 2003 MOU. Departmental head Andrew
Metcalfe confirmed that if continuing attempts to have them returned to PNG fail they will be sent to Nauru.
"These men are experiencing the cruel policy of the Howard government that refuses to deal with asylum claims instead ejecting potential refugees back to Papua New Guinea or exile on Nauru," Senator Nettle said.
"These men should be brought to mainland Australia and have their claims assessed. Anything less is cruelly weaselling out of Australia's international obligations toward refugees.
"The fact is that some West Papuans still
face danger in Papua New
Guinea and could be under threat if returned.
"The government is willing to ruin these three lives in order to appease