23 Jan 2006

Australian officials halfway through initial interviews of Papuan asylum seekers

7:40 pm on 23 January 2006

Australia's Immigration department says the initial interview process of 43 asylum seekers from the Indonesia province of Papua, who arrived in North Queensland last week, is underway.

The group of Papuans is being held on Christmas Island where their status and claims for refugee status are being assessed.

A spokesman for the Department of Immigration, Sandi Logan, says they can't say how long the interviewing will take, but each case will be decided on its merits.

"Well the initial interview process is halfway completed through the group of 43. Each of the group is now talking to Department of Immigration case managers but it is not our practice to provide a running commentary on our operations.."

Sandy Logan says Canberra has not given Indonesia any details about the asylum seekers.