Give the west papuans refuge (Jan)
The West Papuan asylum seekers who recently arrived by outrigger canoe should be
given at least temporary refuge in Australia, according to Sustainable Population
Australia inc. (SPA).
National President of SPA, Ms Jenny Goldie, says the 43 West Papuans, currently
housed on Christmas Island, clearly fit the definition of political refugee under the
1951 Refugee Convention.
“Once the necessary health checks have been done, they should be brought to
mainland Australia and given bridging visas while their formal claims are assessed,”
Ms Goldie says it is clear that the West Papuans were facing serious persecution
and, unlike a number of other asylum seekers in recent years, Australia is their first
port of call.
“We have obligations under the Refugee Convention to take genuine refugees, that
is, those that have a genuine fear of persecution in their homeland,” says Ms Goldie.
“Australia’s immigration program should be re-oriented towards taking in more
refugees but fewer skilled migrants,” she says. “In the year to June 2005, our net
overseas migration (immigration minus emigration) was 110,100 of which the
humanitarian program was a mere 13,000.”
Ms Goldie says that 43 West Papuans are a mere drop in the bucket compared to
that excessively large figure of 110,100.
“We have to reduce our overall immigration program significantly but not at the
expense of the refugee intake,” she says. “While we cannot take every refugee in the
world, we should feel a particular obligation to take those in our immediate region.”
Further information: Jenny Goldie 02 6235 5488 (w) 02 6235 9190 (h)