15 Oct 2005

UN refugee agency welcomes PNG's acceptance of 185 Papua refugees

11:23 am on 15 October 2005

The United Nations Refugee Agency has welcomed Papua New Guinea's decision to accept another batch of Indonesian refugees from the province of Papua.

PNG has granted residency permits to more than 1-hundred and 80 people who fled the Papuan Highlands town of Wamena.

The Papuans crossed into the PNG town of Vanimo in December 2000 and were moved to East Awin in PNG at the end of last month.

The 1-hundred and 85 Papuans have been granted residency permits conditional on staying in East Awin for six months, after which they can move to different parts of PNG.

The residency status is renewable every three years, and the permit holders can apply for PNG citizenship after eight years.

PNG has issued about a thousand such permits since 1999.