PAPUAN REFUGEES URGE DIALOGUE WITH INDONESIA

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 5) – The spokesman for the 43 Papuan asylum seekers who fled to Australia almost three months ago, Herman Waingai, is pleading for international assistance to solve the tension in the Indonesian province.

Last month, 42 of the 43 Papuans were granted temporary protection visas and this week were moved to Melbourne after being detained on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

[PIR editor’s note: Christmas Island is a territory of Australia located in the Indian Ocean to the northwest of the Australian continent. The island has a defunct immigration detention center, which was reactivated for the 43 Papuans.]

Mr Waingai says the international community has to take a lead and mediate between Jakarta and the self-determination movement.

"We are asking if the international community can facilitate a meeting between the Indonesian Government and pro-independence West Papua leaders outside of the country, so we can solve this problem with dialogue," he said.

New Zealand has previously said it would be willing to mediate if asked by Jakarta.

April 6, 2006

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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