1 Dec 2008

West Papua NGO denies coercion claims over refugees' return to Indonesia

4:21 pm on 1 December 2008

The Vanuatu spokesman for the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, Andy Ayamiseba, has denied claims that two West Papuan refugees were coerced into returning home from Australia.

Two of the group of 43 Papua asylum seekers who fled to Australia in 2006, Yunus Wainggai and his daughter Anike, returned home late last week.

Earlier, supporters of the two Papuans voiced concern that the pair had gone missing following a recent interview with Australian Federal Police, and that Indonesian intelligence agents coerced them into leaving.

But Mr Ayamiseba, who is in contact with Yunus Wainggai's wife Siti in Vanuatu, says that Yunus wanted to return home because his other daughter is seriously ill in Jayapura.

He says Yunus instigated efforts to arrange Siti's return too.


IN:......I believe he went to Canberra and went and saw the Indonesians, so they did everything by phone between him, his wife and the Indonesians. So I don't believe that the Indonesians have forced them, just that purely they wanted to go back. For me this is not a political matter, this is just a humanitarian issue.

DUR:...18 seconds

Andy Ayamiseba