17 Feb 2006

Papuan asylum seekers appeal for Australian and international support

2:18 pm on 17 February 2006

A spokesman for the 43 Papuan asylum seekers on Christmas Island has described what his people have experienced at the hands of the Indonesian military.

In a video statement played at a public forum in Sydney last night called "West Papua, Refugees and Australia", Herman Wainggai made a direct appeal to the Australian public as well as the international community for support.

Mr Wainggai says since 1960 until the present day, many Papuans have died at the hands of the Indonesian military, and if international support is not forthcoming for Papuans, they will continue to be killed.

"Since 1960 until 2006, in West Papua the Indonesian government has sent plenty of military to take over our place so there's no freedom. No body can talk freely of freedom for West Papua."

Meanwhile, Greens senator Kerry Nettle says Australia should not sit back while its neighbours are being shot and victimised.