GROUP CALLS ON PNG TO DEAL WITH "STATELESS" REFUGEES

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 14) - The International
Commission of Jurists is calling on the Papua New Guinea government to review
its immigration laws to deal with the large number of Papuan border crossers who
are stateless.

The Australian branch of the ICJ said there are over 15,000
Papuans who fled Indonesia in the 1980s, living in a government camp in the
Western Province without any citizenship.

ICJ spokesperson Liz Biok said the Papuans have lost their
Indonesian citizenship and have been unable to apply for permanent residency or
citizenship in PNG.

Biok, who specializes in refugee law, said basic human rights
and access to public services is limited for the Papuans because of their
situation.

"For the people in the East Awin camp, there is very little
access to medical care and certainly to education," she said. "They
are given quality access, but they are limited in terms of any tertiary
education to movement. They are not entitled to move off to Port Moresby and try
and get long-term jobs. They are forced to live for two or three generations,
with no legal status."

Liz Biok said an ICJ report on the Papuan border crossers in PNG
will be given to the Somare-Marat government.

May 15, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/ 

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