4 Jan 2008

PNG police to move Papuan refugees

6:30 pm on 4 January 2008

The more than 140 Papuan refugees from Indonesia who camped outside the Port Moresby police station in Papua New Guinea for 10 weeks have been threatened with eviction by the city's police chief.

The Papuan families were moved to a cramped compound within Boroko Police Station in October following the stoning to death of a PNG magistrate who crashed his car into their makeshift camp on a city traffic island.

The group had camped on the island outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office after they were evicted from 8 Mile settlement outside the PNG capital in September.

Four young men from the Papuan group are in custody and charged with the murder of 55-year-old Chief Magistrate Ivo Cappo.

The 141 others in the Papuan group, including 38 children, are refusing to move back to 8 Mile where older members settled after fleeing Indonesian Papua more than 20 years ago.

The group is also refusing to move to the remote East Awin refugee camp in PNG's Western Province.

But Metropolitan Police Superintendent Fred Yakasa has threatened to move the Papuans back to the UNHCR office unless government authorities and the UN agency come up with a solution.