12 Oct 2009

Indonesia announces new date for repatriation of refugees from PNG

7:38 pm on 12 October 2009

The Governor of Indonesia's Papua province says the first phase of the repatriation of refugees from Papua New Guinea is scheduled to begin by the end of this year.

An Indonesian news website quotes Barnabas Suebu saying the repatriation of around 700 of the more than 3-thousand registered Papuan refugees, who had fled over recent decades, will take place from the beginning of next year.

The planned mass repatriation, which has been delayed several times since 2006, is to take place by both land and air, with Indonesia to fund the process.

Mr Suebu says he has co-ordinated with officials throughout the province to prepare facilities for the returnees, who will be sent to their hometowns.

Meanwhile, Papuan advocacy groups have expressed concern, raising fears those being repatriated might be targetted by the Indonesian security forces.