WEST PAPUAN ASYLUM SEEKERS UNDER GUARD
The seven West Papuan asylum seekers secretly returned from Boigu Island to Port Moresby in late September are now under guard at the hotel where they had been taken on their return.
The seven asylum seekers were placed under guard after a meeting with PNG government officials late yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.
At that meeting, Immigration officials told them they will be taken to the isolated West Papuan camp, Kiunga, in Western Province close to the PNG border with Indonesia. There was no discussion of PNG processing their refugee claims.
The officials told them that UNHCR could process their claims in the camp, but the UNHCR does not have a presence at the camp, or indeed, in PNG.
“PNG simply has no mechanism to process refugees and its reservations to the Refugee Convention means that even people found to be refugees cannot find permanent protection in PNG. The West Papuans must be returned to Australia so their refugee claims can be properly assessed and they can be guaranteed the security they need,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition,
“It is clear that PNG has no intention of processing their refugee claims. Scott Morrison flicked the West Papuans to PNG to keep them ‘out of sight and out of mind’ to avoid any embarrassment with Indonesia. Now, the PNG government is following Australia’s lead and flicking them to a remote camp.
“It is obvious that despite the MoU with PNG, there will be no assessment of the asylum seekers’ refugee claims. The MoU is a diplomatic convenience for both PNG and Australian governments to subvert the Refugee Convention and deny asylum seekers’ their human rights.
“The West Papuans have become the victims of Australia’s regional foreign policy arrangements that prop up the anti-refugee policies of Operation Sovereign Borders.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul , mob 0417 275 713