21 Feb 2006

Vanuatu minister defends Papuan deportation order

9:42 am on 21 February 2006

Vanuatu's Internal Affairs minister, George Wells, says Papuan independence activist Andy Ayamiseba should be deported because of his illegal residential status and involvement in internal politics.

Mr Wells has been summoned to file a sworn statement about his reasons for the deportation in court where Mr Ayamiseba is challenging the order.

No official reason was given for the Papuan's sudden deportation earlier this month, which failed when neither Australia or Solomon Islands would accept him.

Mr Wells says the bid to deport Mr Ayamiseba does not mean the government is changing its support for Papuans.

But Mr Wells says as a foreigner without a valid visa in Vanuatu, Mr Ayamiseba must be dealt with...

"We can't get involved in Vanuatu politics when we know that we're not a citizen. It's a respect, it's common sense. That's our reservation we have information, we have our sworn statement by some witness already. All these things is before the court awaiting on Wednesday."

Meanwhile, Mr Ayamiseba's lawyer Felix Kabini says they're preparing a constitutional application to the Chief Justice to challenge the Immigration law amendment.