5 Apr 2006

Australia faced with possible new arrival of Papuan asylum seekers

4:49 pm on 5 April 2006

The Australian opposition Greens Senator, Kerry Nettle, says the government has to look at why more people may have fled Indonesia's Papua province.

There are reports that a group of six Papuans has landed on an island in the Torres Strait, nearly three months after 43 Papuans landed on the Australian mainland.

All but one of that first group have since been granted temporary protection visas.

Senator Nettle says the government should not be surprised at the reports as Papuans are fleeing persecution and injustice at the hands of the Indonesian authorities.

Ms Nettle says the Australian Government has recognised there is persecution yet maintains a contradictory position supporting those behind the persecution.

"That's the Indonesian military and the Indonesian police forces which operate in West Papua. So there is a real contradiction for the Government - you can't grant asylum but continue to support the people who create the asylum seekers and that is going to be a real difficulty for the government if we start to see more West Papuans seeking asylum in Australia."