10 Jan 2009

Repatriation of West Papuans to Indonesia is a pulicity stunt says NGO

10:23 am on 10 January 2009

More than 700 West Papuans living in Papua New Guinea are choosing to return home to the Indonesian side of the border despite claims they face human rights abuses.

The Indonesian Embassy in PNG's capital Port Moresby will next month begin flying the West Papuans across the border.

Hakim Abdul from the embassy said the voluntary repatriations were happening because conditions in West Papua had steadily improved since 2001.

But Felix Meraudje from the West Papua National Congress based in Port Moresby says it was a publicity stunt.

He says the people who have chosen to go back are frustrated with the lack of results from the United Nations in PNG.

He says the reality for most West Papuans is not good and most are scared and can't be West Papuan.

He says at least 15-thousand West Papuans fled their homes on the Indonesian side because of persecution by authorities and they now live throughout PNG.