Australia silent about deportation of Papuan asylum seekers

The Australian government has so far declined all comment about last week’s deportation of seven asylum seekers from Indonesia’s Papua province who Canberra flew to the Papua New Guinea capital.
The seven arrived in Queensland and claimed to be persecuted by the Indonesian security forces for their links to activists highlighting ongoing human rights abuses in Papua.
The group was reportedly denied access to a lawyer before being flown to Port Moresby, with refugee advocates fearing the seven may be returned to Indonesia.
Under a new policy adopted in July, Australia sends asylum seekers arriving by boat to its detention centres on PNG’s Manus Island or Nauru for processing and possible resettlement anywhere but Australia.
In 2006, Australia angered Jakarta when it granted protection visas to 43 Papuans who had arrived in Queensland.
Australia’s new border protection regime is likely to be key topic during the new Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s visit to Jakarta, which begins today.


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