UNHCR rejects Papuans’ resettlement plea

By PNG correspondent Steve Marshall

ABC News

3/10/08

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it will not resettle more than 100 Papuan refugees living in Papua New Guinea to Vanuatu.

The Papuan refugees crossed the border into Papua New Guinea many years ago and settled in Port Moresby.

Last year they were evicted from borrowed land have been living in makeshift tents and tarpaulins.

The Papuans have been campaigning to the UNHCR to be resettled in Vanuatu.

However, the UNHCR’s Richard Towle says their plea has been rejected.

“From our point of view, resettlement is really a last resort for the most deserving of the deserving on the basis of protection needs and we don’t think that this group falls within that category,” he said.

The PNG Government would rather the refugees return home across the border to Indonesian-governed Papua.

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