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Call on UN to respond to Australia's deportation of Papua asylum seekers

Radio New Zealand International - October 4, 2013

Refugee advocates in Australia want the United Nations to take action over what they say is the government's failure to abide by the Refugees Convention.

This comes amid campaigns to have seven West Papuan asylum seekers from Indonesia assessed for refugee status in Australia, after the government flew them from Queensland to Papua New Guinea last week.

Canberra claims its actions are allowed under a memorandum of understanding with PNG, but refugee groups say the agreement does not apply in this case.

Izzy Brown from the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua says they want the seven brought back to Australia and for an assessment of their claims for asylum to begin immediately. And she says the UN needs to step in and remind the Australian government of its obligations.

"It's really unfortunate that Australia thinks it can send asylum seekers offshore without due process or just blatantly illegally deported like in this case here and we really want to try and draw the world's attention and especially the UN's attention to Australia's behaviour in this matter."