17 Feb 2006

Australian Senator hopes for a positive decision on Papuan asylum seekers by next month

4:30 pm on 17 February 2006

Australian Greens senator Kerry Nettle hopes a positive decision on the asylum claims of the 43 Papuan boat people being held on Christmas Island can be made by next month.

Ms Nettle has been speaking at a series of forums in Australian cities called "West Papua, Refugees and Australia".

The forums have included a statement from a spokesman for the asylum seekers on Christmas Island, Herman Wainggai who said they fled the province of Papua last month because of the threat of the Indonesian military.

The Papuan student resistance leader was speaking on a video made secretly on Christmas Island and smuggled out recently by senator Nettle.

Meanwhile, Ms Nettle says the statement reinforces the need for Australia to protect the Papuans...

"I had the opportunity to ask our Department of Immigration on Monday when they thought they would have a decision on the 43 asylum seekers from West Papua, and they said they were expecting to have a decision some time in March, so we are obviously hoping that that will be sooner rather than later and that the decision will be positive."

Greens senator Kerry Nettle.