3 Oct 2006

Australia worried about possible Papua refugees

2:27 pm on 3 October 2006

Australia's immigration minister, Amanda Vanstone, says she hopes another boatload of refugees from Indonesia's Papua province is not heading to Australia.

Her comments come as a Papuan dissident said he was organising a second group of Papuans to follow the lead of 43 others who were granted temporary protection by Australia after landing on the mainland in January.

A diplomatic rift opened between Australia and Indonesia after the Papuans were given protection visas after they claimed that they suffered persecution at the hands of Jakarta.

Senator Vanstone says she expects strong cooperation from Indonesia if any fresh refugees tried to reach Australia from Papua.

There has been a long running separatist movement in Papua but Australia has repeatedly said it backs Indonesia's territorial integrity.