7 Jul 2008

Papuan refugees in PNG don't need resettlement, says UNHCR

10:47 am on 7 July 2008

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says it will seriously consider any claims of misconduct against its officials in Papua New Guinea.

A group of about 100 Papuan refugees in PNG are seeking an investigation into the conduct of the local UNHCR office in relation to their bid for resettlement in a third country.

The group is currently camped on a public park in Port Moresby, after being evicted from four different public locations in the capital over 9 months.

Local NGOs have raised concerns over the poor living conditions the Papuans are living in while the refugees themselves accuse the UNHCR of neglecting their resettlement bid.

"However the UNHCR's regional representative, Richard Towle (pro: toll) says there's no need for the group to be resettled in a third country."

This group and most West Papuans living in PNG have got an appropriate solution - what we call a durable solution - to remain in the country. There is no need for them to be resettled. And I have to say it would be difficult to persuade any traditional resettlement country like Australia or New Zealand to resettle this group.