28 Nov 2008

Concern over two Papuan refugees missing in Australia

4:41 pm on 28 November 2008

Supporters of two West Papuan refugees in Australia hold fears for their safety amid claims they have gone missing after an interview with federal police this week.

Yunus Wanggai and his daughter Anike are two of the 43 asylum seekers who landed in Australia in January 2006 after fleeing from Indonesia.

Yunus Wanggai was believed to be negotiating with Indonesian authorities in Canberra for him and his daughter to be reunited with his wife Siti Wanggai.

Siti recently disappeared from Vanuatu after awaiting permission to come to Australia where her husband has been in the process of gaining permanent residency

But members of Australia's West Papuan independence movement fear that Jakarta may be co-ercing Mr Wanggai to return to Indonesia for "propaganda purposes".

Mr Wanggai's lawyer, David Manne, said he was unable to comment on confidential client matters, but admitted he had serious concerns.

"I think that the Australian authorities are in contact with them, but I can't go into any detail on that other than to say that I have serious concerns in relation to the matter."

David Manne