Friday, April 07, 2006

Leave politics out of the debate about Papuan refugees

ABC reports "the Australian Government has been urged to leave politics out of the debate about Papuan refugees.

Tensions have grown between Australia and Indonesia over the granting of temporary asylum for 42 Papuans.

Prime Minister John Howard says neither the government nor the majority of the Australian public support those encouraging Papuans to come to Australia.

The Coordinator of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, David Manne, says it is disappointing politics have been dragged into the debate.

"It's not a political decision it ought not be interfered with on a political basis," he said."

"It's a decision based on the fundamental human rights of a person who faces a real prospect of being persecuted.

Experience has shown us that Howard will always seek the lowest common denominator to wedge political opponents over issues such as asylum seekers. In the past people threatened by political persecution have become pawns in a grubby game of domestic political brinkmanship. I think we can expect more of the same...

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