Boat refugees with nowhere to go

 Tens of thousands of refugees, pouring out of the war-torn Molluccas, face a bleak future as neighbouring islands are refusing to allow them to land. The 'KM Dobonsolo' ferry, packed with 4,215 passengers, 1,207 of them refugees, remained impounded off Jayapura, the main city in Irian Jaya province, after arriving from Ambon, AFP reported on Monday. The Antara news agency said local authorities at three earlier stops on Irian Jaya - Sorong, Manokwari and Biak - had also refused the refugees entry. Last night (1 August) the province of North Sulawesi, another common destination for Christian refugees fleeing the Moluccas, was also reported as saying it would temporarily stop accepting refugees. In Jakarta, the minister for human rights affairs Hasballah Saad deplored the refugees' rejection. "These refugees are a humanitarian problem, they are not people in conflict but victims of conflicts. This is very tragic," Saad said before meeting Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid. The Jakarta Post reported that local authorities have said the Dobonsolo will be detained until Jakarta gives a date for the settlement of the unrest in the Moluccas. The Post called for President Abdurrahman Wahid's government to outline its plans for the refugees.

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