CATHOLIC CHURCH CRITICAL OF PNG'S REFUSAL TO PROCESS REFUGEES FROM IRIAN JAYA

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 2, 2001 – Radio Australia)---While the Papua New Guinea government continues to consider Australia's request to process more asylum seekers refused entry there, the Catholic Church has criticized PNG's refusal to process refugees on the border with Irian Jaya.

From Port Moresby, Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports.

"The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has informed the Vanimo diocese that financial support for the upkeep of the 400 people in the camp will end on January the first.

"The reason given is that Papua New Guinea won't recognize the people's claims to refugee status.

"PNG classifies them as border crossers and the UNHCR says it can deal only with refugees.

"The diocese is ready to keep assisting those in the camp, but only if a proper agreement is signed, including a commitment from the PNG government to allow processing to take place to determine genuine refugee cases.

"Sean Dorney, Radio Australia, Port Moresby."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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