17 Jun 2003

Australia called on the help stranded Papuan bordercrossers

4:15 pm on 17 June 2003

There has been a call for Australia to help Papua New Guinea deal with the thousands of border crossers from the Indonesian province of Papua.

The Papuans have been living in PNG for nearly 20 years - surviving on the help they receive from villagers close to the border.

PNG has always refused to grant the Papuans refugee status meaning their children born in PNG are stateless.

The fourth International Solidarity Meeting for West Papua in Brussels last week expressed great concern at the status of the border crossers.

It said they should all be given refugee status, and that Indonesia end payments made to PNG for the expulsion of border crossers.

The meeting also said there should be a thorough investigation of attacks on the border crossers and the destruction of their camps by PNG police.

And that Australia help resolve the situation by finding them proper places to live.