27 May 2006

UN concerned about reports of human rights abuses in Papua

6:36 am on 27 May 2006

The United Nations refugee agency says it is concerned about reports of human rights abuses in the Indonesian province of Papua, but it says its officials cannot gain access there.

The UNHCR's regional representative, Neil Wright, has appeared before a Senate inquiry into Australia's planned immigration law changes.

Mr Wright told the hearing the UN has received an approach from Papuan asylum seeker Siti Wanggai, whose daughter has been given asylum in Australia.

Ms Wanggai, who is in hiding in Papua New Guinea, claims she was forced to make an appeal to have her daughter returned to Indonesia.

Mr Wright says the UNHCR has been refused access to Papua, despite repeated requests to the Indonesian government.

But he says it does have information coming from those who cross into Papua New Guinea.