18 Apr 2006

Papua woman in hiding in PNG should be re-united with family in Australia - refugee advocate

8:43 pm on 18 April 2006

Refugee advocates in Australia are calling for the United Nations to step in urgently to help a woman who says she was coerced to speak out over her husband fleeing to Australia with their daughter.

Siti Pandera Wanggai, is the mother of four-year-old Anike, who has been given refugee protection in Australia, along with her father, Yunus Wanggai, and 40 other Papuans.

Ms Wanggai initially said her daughter was taken from her without permission but now says she was forced to make the statement.

Ms Wanggai has fled to Papua New Guinea and is in hiding there.

David Manne, a lawyer with the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre says they want the woman offered the help she needs and also to be re-united with her family.

"Family unity is a fundamental human rights principle and obligation and she has called for assistance for herself in getting to a safe place and to be reunited with her husband and daughter in Australia."