10 Oct 2008

Vanuatu dismisses idea of resettlement of Papuan refugees from PNG

2:33 pm on 10 October 2008

Vanuatu's government says it has not made an offer to resettle a group of West Papuan refugees who are currently in Papua New Guinea.

This follows media reports about 100 West Papuans have been offered resettlement in Vanuatu by that country's national council of chiefs.

The refugees, who've been squatting on public land in Port Moresby, say they want to leave for a third country.

However the The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says this group doesn't fit the criteria for resettlement.

Vanuatu's Prime Minister's first political advisor Nikenike Vurobaravu says the Chiefs vocal support for the welfare of West Papuans doesn't equate to an offer of resettlement.

"For any government, policy on refugees has to be a well-considered one - we have to think of compliance with international arrangements and our own domestic requirements so what I'm telling you is that even when, if ever at all, such a submission were to come to government then of course the government would consider it in light of those things."

Nikenike Vurobaravu