West Papuan asylum seekers regret coming to Australia: Hikam

Detik.com – June 20, 2006
West Papuan asylum seekers arrive in Melbourne - April 4, 2006 (Liputan 6)
West Papuan asylum seekers arrive in Melbourne - April 4, 2006 (Liputan 6)

Nurfajri Budi Nugroho, Jakarta – The 42 Papuan asylum seekers who obtained temporary visas in Australia are now biting their finger nails. Their dream of finding work in the Nation of the Kangaroo has run aground (sic).

“The 42 Papuans appear not to want the same thing. Only one or two are ‘true believers’ and in fact they are now regretting [coming to Australia]”, said House of Representative (DPR) Commission I member AS Hikam in Jakarta on Tuesday June 20. “They were tricked as if after their arrival in Australia they would be given jobs”, added Hikam.

Nevertheless, Hikam who is also the head of the Commission I Delegation Team to Australia declined to elaborate on the source of the report he received. “There is a report that mentions it”, he exclaimed emotionally.

Hikam conceded that his delegation did not meet directly with the 42 Papuans. “The lawyer of the 42 Papuans appears to be afraid that the DPR’s Commission I would intimidate them and so objected to us meeting with them”, explained the National Awakening Party politician.

Hikam has asked the Indonesian Consulate General in Australia to provide humanitarian assistance to the 42 Papuans because their situation is of concern and not as they had hoped for.


Hikam also took the opportunity to express his hope that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Australian Prime Minister John Howard would hold comprehensive discussions on the relationship between the two countries.

“Don’t just pick up on certain issues. Don’t just take one dimension for discussion such as the question of [Abu Bakar] Bashir”, said Hikam. (aan)

[Translated by James Balowski.]