28 Sep 2013

PNG Govt approaches IOM to assist with West Papuan asylum seekers

8:48 am on 28 September 2013

The International Organisation for Migration has confirmed it was approached by the Papua New Guinea government to assist seven West Papuans who were brought to Port Moresby by Australian Immigration officials this week.

The seven - including a 10 year old boy - reached Boigu Island in Australia's far north by boat on Tuesday after fleeing from Merauke in Indonesia's Papua province.

Seeking asylum in Australia, they claim to have been persecuted by Indonesian security forces for their involvement in the West Papua Freedom Flotilla campaign earlier this month.

However after detaining the group, Australia Immigration officials deported them to Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby and left them in the hands of the PNG government and the IOM, putting them up in a local hotel.

The newspaper, The Australian, reports that human rights and refugee advocates have expressed alarm at Canberra's swift disposal of the seven, claiming the West Papuans have been subjected to illegal treatment and put at risk of repatriation in order to avoid diplomatic ripples with Indonesia.