3 Dec 2002

PNG Catholic church still cares for 269 bordercrossers from Indonesia's Papua province

11:24 am on 3 December 2002

The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea says there are still 269 people from the Indonesian province of Papua in its care at the Vanimo border camp.

Father Tommy Thomas of the Vanimo diocese says a team of officials from the PNG government and the UNHCR visited the bordercrossers four months ago but no decision on their fate or status has been made.

Some of the camp dwellers applied for political asylum nearly two years ago but they have neither been accepted as refugees nor deported.

Father Tommy says the church is looking after the asylumseekers who arrived after the Indonesian military intensified its crackdown on Papuan separatists.

"They are still anxiously waiting for the result from the government. The government has not made a decision yet, I think. That's the answer I got from Mr Chris Kati in Port Moresby who is in charge of these local border affairs and things like that."

Father Tommy Thomas