15 Oct 2009

Repatriation of refugees from PNG to Indonesia prompts fears

4:26 pm on 15 October 2009

A Papua New Guinea NGO worker who helps West Papuan refugees in Port Moresby says there is considerable opposition to moves to have refugees repatriated to Indonesia.

This comes as arrangements are being finalised for the repatriation of about 400 Port Moresby-based West Papuan refugees at the end of the year.

Indonesia's government is facilitating the repatriation exercise, offering to fund West Papuans who want to return by the end of the year.

However many of the estimated 30-40 thousand West Papuan refugees in PNG are concerned for the safety of those who return.

Vincent Manukayasie of PNG Trust says none of the 200 refugees in the camp which his NGO runs wants to return.

"Previously there was an exercise and some of the leaders who were repatriated mysteriously died. And the view here from the [refugee] camp is that they do not support this exercise and that they fear for the lives of those who are repatriated, especially the leaders."

Vincent Manukayasie