Indonesian animosity grows, while more Papuans plan asylum bid


A recent poll released this week by the Lowy Institute which surveyed both Australian and Indonesian citizens, found that mutual suspicions run high. One of the most problematic issues was the West Papuan independence movement, which seems to be a flashpoint in Australian-Indonesian relations. So far over forty Papuan pro-independence refugees have been granted asylum in Australia. And today, a Papuan activist who helped their cause told the ABC’s AM program that more will arrive on Australian shores. When the Department of Immigration granted 42 West Papuans refugee status earlier this year, a wave of Indonesian anger followed, and Jakarta withdrew its ambassador from Canberra for three months. Dr Malcolm Cook, the Program Director for Asia and the Pacific at the Lowy Institute, discussed what the arrival of more West Papuan refugees would mean. Reverend John Barr also outlined what impact the granting of assylum to West Papuans had had on the independence movement in Papua.

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