World

Politician Praises 'Immigration Policy' of Isolated Tribe Who Killed John Allen Chau

GettyImages-1025501388
One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson smiles in the Fred Brophy boxing tent at the Birdsville Races in the Queensland town of Birdsville on August 31. She told the Australian parliament on Tuesday, "Immigration can have a devastating impact on a people's culture and way of life." Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

An Australian politician has praised the "immigration policy" of the inhabitants of a remote island, who killed an American missionary last week.

Pauline Hanson, leader of the One Nation party, showed her support for the inhabitants of the North Sentinel Islands and their “strict zero-gross immigration policy”.

"Immigration can have a devastating impact on a people's culture and way of life," Hanson told the Australian parliament on Tuesday, as reported by ABC Australia.

"You would be hard pressed to find a single expert who would argue against protecting the Sentinelese people's culture and way of life through limiting migration to their island.

"I for one will not be condemning the Sentinelese as racist for keeping their borders closed, nor will I condemn them for their lack of diversity.

"All people should have a right to decide their own fate, and I'm disappointed the Senate refused to join me in acknowledging this."

Hanson, whose anti-immigration views have often stirred controversy, also lodged notice of a formal motion calling for the Senate to "support the desire of the Sentinelese people to protect their culture and way of life."

The motion, however, was denied.

GettyImages-1025501388 One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson smiles in the Fred Brophy boxing tent at the Birdsville Races in the Queensland town of Birdsville on August 31. She told the Australian parliament on Tuesday, "Immigration can have a devastating impact on a people's culture and way of life." Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

"It is frankly hypocritical for Senator Hanson to pretend to be sticking up for people like the North Sentinelese given her record victimizing and degrading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia," Green Senator Nick McKim said.

"I would also make the point this motion put forward by Senator Hanson is an attempt to exploit the North Sentinelese people for her own base political purposes, something the motion purports to stand against."

Last week, John Allen Chau was killed while trying to bring Christianity to North Sentinel Island. The forested isle is part of the remote India-administered Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean, and populated by an isolated indigenous tribe.

Chau, a native of Alabama, was illegally ferried to the island by fishermen, according to Dependra Pathak, the director general of police in Andaman and Nicobar.

According to letters recovered from the island and supplied to Reuters, the 27-year-old had told his family not to be angry if he was murdered by the reclusive islanders he was attempting to convert.

Chau had made two or three trips to the island using a canoe in the days before his death. On these excursions, the 27-year-old would attempt to make contact with the tribe before returning to the fishing boat offshore. The source said the American had taken scissors, safety pins and a football as gifts to the tribe to try and establish a rapport.

On November 16, he told the fishermen he would again canoe to the island but this time stay there, instructing them to return home and pass on his notes.

But the next morning, the men saw tribespeople dragging Chau’s body across the beach and then burying him in the sand. According to Pathak: “This was a misplaced adventure in a highly protected area.”

Join the Discussion

Editor's Pick