Seven West Papuan Refugees rejected by Australia have been given ten days to decidetheir faith.
They’ve been given two options, ether to seek refugee status in PNG or be extradited back toIndonesia; however,they are refusing both options. “We’re political refugees and we are not safe in West Papua because activist like us are hunted byIndonesian military, said Yacob Mandabayan, Asylum seeker.
The West Papuan Asylum seekers are currently being accommodated atthe Hideaway hotel in Port Moresby.
The group, including a pregnant female and a 10 year old boy had sailed to Beigu Island, andthen onto Saibai Island, wherethey sought refuge from Australian Immigration officials.
They werethen transported on to Thursday Island, werethey were interviewed and detained, with a promise of being assisted into Australia.
However, after being quarantined and medically tested at Horn Islandtheir dream of seeking asylum in Australia was shattered, whenthey were flown to Port Moresby, and dumped atthe JacksonsInternational Airport onthe 26th of September around midnight.
“After we got onthe plane, an immigrations officer from Australia told usthey’re returning us to Papua New Guinea We asked why and he said he is only doing his job because he was told to by his boss,” said Mandabayan. “We toldthem we didn’trsquo;t come froPNG, we came from West Papua and if you want to put us back to our country, you have to bring us back to West Papua; why are you bringing us tPNG?” he said.
Last Friday, a protest March was staged in front ofthe Australian High commission in Port Moresby demandingthe asylum seekers be processed in Manus as well and thatthe airspace oPNG be respected. “If a West Papuan stays more than seven days in PNG and makes his/her way down to Australiathen Australia hasthe right to return you back to Papua New Guineaunder and MOU signed in 2003,” said Patrick Kaiku, Melanesian United Front. &ldquoIntheir case,they’ve never stayed in PNG for more than seven days,they were just transiting throughthe cover of darkness,” he said.
The track record of processing West Papuan Refugees in PNG is not a positive one. Since 1984 many refugees are still waiting to become citizens oPNG.
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