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No Consular Help For Freedom Flotilla

No Consular Help For Freedom Flotilla

FOREIGN Minister Bob Carr says a group of Australian activists planning to sail to Indonesia to highlight the fight for Papuan independence will receive no consular assistance whatsoever if they are jailed.

The stern warning came as representatives from the so-called Freedom Flotilla - three yachts with about 20 Australians and West Papuans aboard - continued to insist they would proceed with their protest.

They are expected to arrive in the city of Merauke in about a fortnight, without authorisation or proper documents.

But Senator Carr, who was in Jakarta on Tuesday for regional talks on people smuggling, said the group had received numerous warnings not to proceed with their plans.

Senator Carr said a formal letter had been sent to the organisation on Tuesday informing them that local laws and penalties would apply in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

The members of the group could face up to five years in prison for immigration and other offences if they entered Indonesian waters without approval.

"We've given them this warning. Therefore, should they end up in prison as a result of breaching the law of Indonesia or Papua New Guinea we've got no obligation to give them consular support," Senator Carr said.

"The penalties are clear. The penalties will apply and there is no intervention Australia can make and the provision of consular support where people have received explicit warnings is not an obligation."

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Senator Carr said members of the flotilla were perpetrating a cruel hoax on the people of the Papuan provinces, by suggesting Papuan independence was on the international agenda.

"We recognise Indonesia's sovereignty over West Papua," he said.

"There's no way any Australian government, Labor or coalition, would give any support or encouragement to an enterprise of this type. We are opposed to it and we're advising against it."


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