West Papuans in PNG grateful for land allocations


West Papuans in PNG grateful for land allocations
3:23 pm today

West Papuan refugees in the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby have expressed gratitude at being given land for resettlement.

More than a thousand West Papuans, some of whom have been in the country for more than 30 years, squat on land in the Rainbow settlement as well as in Hola and Waigani within Port Moresby.

Rainbow settlement in Port moresby, Papua New Guinea, where West Papuan refugees have squatted for years.

Rainbow settlement in Port moresby, Papua New Guinea, where West Papuan refugees have squatted for years. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Many of them were either in the courts over the legality of their areas of residence while others had been issued notices for eviction.

A construction officer with the West Papuan Relief Association said the community’s spirits had been lifted by the National Capital District Commission’s allocation of 10 hectares in the Red Hills suburb of Gerehu.

Arnold Amba said the community was already clearing the land and fundraising for its development.

Mr Amba said getting some 200 families resettled would be an even bigger challenge.

“I want to message to the international organisations like UNHCR, the International Organisation for Migration and Foreign Affairs to to help us to support our program to occupy the new land. So we need help to move in on the new land.”

An estimated 12,000 unregistered West Papuan refugees live scattered across PNG and a government programme to register and provide citizenship for these people was currently underway, although some critics said it would take more than citizenship to address the issues faced by West Papuans living in PNG.

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