24 Sep 2007

UNHCR and PNG government accused of passing buck over Papuan refugees

8:11 pm on 24 September 2007

A Papua New Guinea lawyer has expressed disappointment in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees over the plight of homeless Papuan refugees in Port Moresby

Public Interest and Environmental lawyer Anne Kajir says the future is uncertain for the latest group of Papuan refugees who are being evicted from the 8 Mile squatter settlement where they have lived since fleeing Indonesia 20 years ago.

A group of about 90 Papuan refugees have been camping outside the UN refugee office in the capital protesting against their eviction and demanding resettlement in a third country.

Ms Kajir says the UNHCR has merely referred the case to the government which she feels does not have the political will to deal with the matter.

"I would believe that it is the responsibility of the UNHCR office here in Port Moresby to address West Papuan issues here in country. And I feel that they have an obligation to at least do something for the West Papuans living in PNG."