9 Dec 2010

UNHCR says prospects for PNG squatters facing eviction are dire

8:18 am on 9 December 2010

The PNG office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says the prospects for the latest group of squatters facing eviction in Port Moresby are dire.

Up to 800 squatters, including West Papuan refugees, were last week evicted from a section between the capital's 8-Mile and 9-Mile settlements which is owned by a former MP, Sir Pita Lus, who wants to develop the land.

The UNHCR's, Walpurga Englbrecht, says the eviction process is ongoing.

"Unfortunately all legal measures (to halt the eviction) which were tried did not succeed and so people are evicted, their houses and gardens have been destroyed; trees were cut down... So people have nowhere to stay right now and so it does create a very dire situation, not only for the West Papuan refugees, but also for the PNG citizens."

Walpurga Englbrecht says the hundreds of squatters who are yet to be evicted should be given the chance to save their belongings before bulldozers destroy their homes.