1 Nov 2007

Three Burmese in PNG want asylum in Australia

2:16 pm on 1 November 2007

Three Burmese men waiting in a small town in Papua New Guinea after fleeing their country's military regime hope they will be granted asylum in Australia.

The trio illegally crossed into PNG from Indonesian Papua by boat in April after years living on the edge in Thailand and Malaysia.

They are having their requests for refugee status assessed by PNG authorities after spending three months in jail in the town of Vanimo.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office in PNG has confirmed they are persons of concern.

The three men said they would prefer to be accepted by Australia or another developed country like Canada where they could work and have more chance of helping their families back in Burma.

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, has said Australia should be a haven for Burmese asylum seekers following the recent crackdown on protesters against the military regime.