27 Sep 2007

UNHCR explains resettlement process to evicted Papuan refugees

7:44 pm on 27 September 2007

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' representative in Papua New Guinea has met with a delegation of Papuans asking for resettlement in a third country.

The Papuans, who fled to PNG from Indonesia about 20 years ago, have camped outside the UN office in the capital this week.

Their protest was prompted by their eviction under court order by the landowner of Port Moresby's 8 Mile squatter settlement.

The UNHCR's representative, Wallaya Pura, has told the delegation that they are not considering resettlement to a third country for Papuan refugees who had already been given asylum by the PNG government.

Ms Pura says that the Papuans have the option of residing in PNG with formal legal status, whereas resettlement to third countries is reserved for refugees who have no other option.

She says the need for the group to relocate from 8 Mile is not related to their refugee status or right to remain in PNG which remains unchanged.

The UNHCR says the PNG government has assured that it is exploring alternative housing options for the Papuans.