Give the west papuans refuge (Jan)

16 February 2009

Media Releases 2009

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,”

she says.

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)


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