Friday January 20 2006 00:01am WST
For Immediate Release
"With the announcement that a boatload of West Papuan asylum seekers, who yesterday arrived at Cape York, are being flown to Christmas Island, callously carted back outside the Migration zone, the Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone stands condemned over her unbelievable 'refugee injustice' she has just inflicted on the group of West Papuan asylum seekers she 'banished' to the Christmas Island detention centre," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said tonight.
"Minister Vanstone has just made a total mockery of the Migration Act and of Australia's border-protection millions, spent to "keep asylum seekers arriving by boat outside the Migration Zone" and she makes a mockery of the Excision Regulations where more than 4500 islands are excised from the Migration Zone, because clearly it doesn't matter one kahoots whether you make it inside that zone or not: if you're an asylum seeker, you get yourself 'deported' back outside the Migration zone anyway," Mr Smit commented. "Under the Howard government's view of asylum seekers who arrive unannounced, there's only an "OUT", and an "IN" does not exist."
"The West Papuan asylum seekers did not come here from halfway across the planet."
"They did not arrive assisted by 'people smugglers' in Australian waters. They are not part of Mr Howard's fictional army of 'queue-jumpers' - the damning label used to vilify 'unannounced boat arrivals' who 'could have gone elsewhere' - so keenly promoted by former Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock."
"These people, as already pointed out on 18 January by the International Commission for Jurists sought the nearest available country, they came with their own boat, and they fled persecution by Indonesia."
"Minister Vanstone has today brought more international shame on Australia, and once again she has acted like a puppet for Mr Howard, who remains a politician with a record of breaking and grievously undermining many International Conventions for political gain."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]