Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Papuan dissident warns of exodus of refugees to Australia

SYDNEY, Australia (AP): A dissident from Indonesia's restive Papua province on Tuesday predicted that an "exodus" of asylum seekers would flee to Australia in the coming weeks.
Edison Warom's comments came nearly 10 months after 43 Papuan asylum seekers landed on Australia's northern coast, sparking a diplomatic rift between Jakarta and Canberra.
"I can say that there will be more people leaving but I can't confirm what day and what time," Warom told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Radio through an interpreter.
Because, if I say, then Jakarta will surely monitor the southern waters ... but I will say there will be an exodus," Warom added. It was not clear whether he was speaking from Australia or Indonesia.
Indonesia temporarily withdrew its ambassador from Australia in protest earlier this year after Canberra accepted the 42 -- and refusing one -- Papuans as refugees, including supporters of the province's secessionist movement.
Australia's Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said she expected strong cooperation from Indonesia if any fresh refugees tried to reach Australia from Papua.
"I would hope that there isn't another boatload for a number of reasons, it is the least safe way to seek asylum in Australia," Vanstone told the ABC.

I would be trying to escape too if I was suffering human rights abuses and police, military and Islamic militants Laskar Jihad were attacking me. Indonesia has no claim on Papua and if the Dutch had carried through like they originally planned to, giving Papua autonomy and had not been pressured by Kennedy and the UN when Sukarno illegally invaded Papua, everything would be okay now for Papuans. When Papua had a chance to vote on whether to stay or leave Indonesia in 1969, corrupt dictator Soeharto largely hand-picked a group from Jakarta and constituting far less than 1 percent of the Papuan population at the time, voted unanimously in favor of joining Indonesia amidst widespread intimidation and terror. Papua is not part of Indonesia and these people are indeed slaves to the Muslim Indonesian government. They deserve refugee status from Australia.

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