11 Oct 2013

PNG wants to move Papua asylum seekers deported by Australia

7:10 pm on 11 October 2013

The seven West Papuan asylum seekers from Indonesia who Australia deported to Papua New Guinea last month have been told they will be moved to the Kiunga refugee camp in PNG's Western Province.

But a spokesperson for the group, which has been placed under guard in a Port Moresby hotel, Jacob Mandabayan, says they fear such a move and would prefer to be moved to a third country, such as New Zealand.

Australia controversially refused to consider their asylum claims, transferring them instead to PNG under an agreement that refugee advocates say is a device to circumvent the Refugee Convention.

Mr Mandabayan says the group had been involved in trying to welcome the Freedom Flotilla from Australia and for this reason Indonesian officials are likely to hunt them down if they move to Kiunga, which is near the border with Papua.

"It's really close. The Indonesian military or intelligence, like the special forces like Kopassus, they can do anything together. Maybe they can kidnap us or maybe they do anything they want. This is what has been happening to other activists in the past."

Jacob Mandabayan.