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ICC Note

Christians in Indonesia are often persecuted for their faith, and recently in Papua there has been an influx of militant Muslims, putting many Christians in danger.

Indonesian refugees were jailed and tortured, Australian lawmaker says

Mainichi Daily News , Japan (02/03/06)

To read the full story, click here: Refugees Were Persecuted

SYDNEY — Refugees who landed in Australia after a five-day sea voyage had been jailed and tortured in Indonesia, an Australian lawmaker said Friday, as Jakarta’s ambassador warned of strained relations if they are granted asylum.

Barnaby Joyce, a high profile lawmaker from the ruling coalition who met with the 43 people from the restive Indonesian province of Papua , said the group appeared to have a genuine asylum claim and had been persecuted because of their Christian beliefs.

“There are documented cases of members within their families being shot,” he told reporters after meeting with the refugees at an immigration processing facility on Australia ‘s Indian Ocean territory Christmas Island, where they were transferred after landing on the northern coast of Queensland state on Jan. 18.

“There’s certainly on the record experiences of them being jailed and tortured so I think they would be under risk if they went back,” he said, noting that he had only met with them briefly.

But Indonesia ‘s Ambassador to Canberra , Teuku Mohammad Hamzah Thayeb, repeated earlier warnings by Indonesian officials that granting the group asylum could strain relations between the two countries.

“It certainly would have an effect. That’s why we have to manage this together and find a solution,” Thayeb told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Friday.

The group, which includes seven children, arrived carrying a banner accusing Indonesia of terrorism and genocide in the province, where a poorly armed separatist movement has battled Jakarta ‘s rule for decades.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said the group had not yet officially applied for refugee status, but would be given “a fair hearing” if they file an asylum claim.

To read the full story, click here: Refugees Were Persecuted