World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Indonesian Refugees Relocate In Papua New Guinea

UN Agency Helps Indonesian Refugees Relocate In Papua New Guinea

With the youngest in the group travelling in her mother’s shoulder bag, the United Nations refugee agency today helped 185 men, women and children from Indonesia’s Papua province complete the first phase of their voluntary relocation in neighbouring Papua New Guinea (PNG).

A plane chartered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) transferred the group from the border town of Vanimo in Sandaun province in PNG’s north to the remote mining town of Kiunga in Western province. Later the refugees will travel by boat to Rampsite, about an hour upstream on the Fly River, from where they will be taken by tractor to their destination, the nearby town of East Awin.

The youngest in the group, a two-month-old girl, was carried in her mother’s bilum, a local type of shoulder bag.

UNHCR’s Representative in PNG Johann Siffointe said the promise of more land, better health and education services, and the opportunity to acquire greater residency rights had persuaded the refugees to leave Vanimo.

“The move is an important first step in the integration of the refugees into Papua New Guinea,” he said, adding they will be able to grow vegetables and raise chickens and pigs on the land allocated to them in East Awin, where there are also established schools and health clinics.

Mr. Siffointe said the complex move could become a model for voluntary relocations around the world.

The PNG Government designated East Awin as a suitable relocation area for refugees and asylum seekers, and it has since leased 6,000 hectares from traditional landowners. Some 2,500 refugees from Papua province in Indonesia are already settled there.

Today’s group were among a batch of 460 people who arrived in Vanimo in December 2000. They were part of a wider wave of pro-independence refugees from Indonesia’s adjacent Papua province – formerly known as Irian Jaya – who settled on the PNG side of the border since the late 1960s. Many have subsequently returned to Indonesia.

UNHCR said it would provide the refugees with food, tarpaulin, tools, soap, mosquito nets and other relief items to help ease their transfer in East Awin.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news