16 Jun 2006

Australia to deport three Papuan asylum seekers to PNG

3:19 pm on 16 June 2006

Australia will send three asylum seekers from the Indonesian province of Papua to Papua New Guinea.

The three men had been detained by Australian authorities just over a month ago when they arrived from PNG by boat.

Their deportation to PNG is in line with a 2003 agreement between the two countries on the processing of illegal migrants.

Under that accord, PNG agreed to re-admit from Australia any third-country nationals who had been in PNG for more than seven days but had failed to seek asylum there.

Australia is reportedly also holding three Afghan asylum seekers in Queensland who had also crossed Torres Strait.

Indonesia reacted angrily in March when Australia granted protection visas to 42 Papuans who claimed to flee persecution.