28 Apr 2006

Australia urged to rule on asylum application of lone Papuan

1:19 pm on 28 April 2006

Lawyers representing a Papuan asylum seeker have launched a legal bid to require Australian Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, to justify the delay in deciding his claim.

David Wainggai is the only one of 43 Papuan asylum seekers who arrived in Australia in January to remain in detention on Christmas Island.

The other 42 asylum seekers were granted temporary protection visas on March 23.

The legal application accuses the Australian government of blocking a decision on the claim for refugee status to advance relations with Indonesia and to deter others from seeking asylum.

Meanwhile, David Manne, who represents the 43 Papuans, says the Department of Immigration is required to reach a decision within 90 days of the claim being lodged.

"He's engaged lawyers to enforce his right to have a decision made on his application for a protection visa and that's what we wish to emphasise. And also the fact that he's extremely vulnerable and in a precarious situation, and has grave fears for his life and safety."

David Manne