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Calls for Australia to revisit plight of seven Papuan asylum seekers

Radio New Zealand International - October 4, 2013

The Netherlands-based advocacy group Foundation Pro Papua says the seven Papuan asylum seekers deported from Australia should be given the option to test their legal rights under the Refugee Convention to claim asylum and protection in Australia.

The seven asylum seekers from Indonesia who Australia deported to Papua New Guinea rejected a PNG ultimatum on Thursday to either be returned to West Papua or claim asylum in PNG.

Foundation Pro Papua group says it's shocked to learn of the deportation of the West Papuans asylum seekers from Australia's Horne Island.

In a letter to the Australian ambassador in the Netherlands, the group say they believe that this action is in breach of Australia's obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, and the humanitarian principles that underlie international law and practice on refugee matters.

The Pro Papua group say they understand that all in the group clearly stated that they were seeking asylum in Australia from political persecution in West Papua.

The Dutch NGO says the Australian authorities should revisit the situation involving the group of seven asylum seekers.