30 Sep 2013

IOM says PNG handling process for West Papuan asylum seekers

8:47 pm on 30 September 2013

The International Organisation for Migration says it's up to Papua New Guinea authorities as to what happens to seven West Papuans transferred to Port Moresby.

The seven, who arrived in the Torres Strait last week claiming to be fleeing persecution by the Indonesian security forces for their links to activists, were transferred to Port Moresby by Australian Immigration officials.

The group says they don't know what's going on and that they've been denied access to a lawyer.

They say they are seeking asylum in Australia, not PNG.

However the IOM's chief of mission in PNG, George Gigauri, says PNG's Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority is processing the basic details of the West Papuans to determine what happens.

"Only the PNG government can do this. It's the state determination process. It's done by the PNG government. What IOM is doing is we're basically doing the humanitarian side. We're looking after them. They're under our care while this state determination process is happening."

George Gigauri says the determination process is expected to be complete by the end of the week.