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Respite For West Papuans At 8-Mile

Respite For West Papuans At 8-Mile

By Harlyne Joku

PORT MORESBY (The National/Pacific Media Watch) - More than 214 West Papuan refugees at the 8-Mile Settlement in the Papua New Guinea capital of Port Moresby no longer face threats of eviction.

The Waigani District Court has ordered an extension of the injunction to Feb 15.

The court briefly heard their case last Friday afternoon and decided on the injunction, which will allow the families to remain at 8-Mile.

Deputy chairman of the 8-Mile community committee Joseph Marshall Ore said yesterday that the West Papuan families were happy that they would still have their homes throughout the festive period.

He said the civil rights lawyer representing them, Powes Parkop, said they had a strong case to pursue. He also met with them yesterday.

An officer from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees said she had followed up on the issue with the Secretary for Lands Pepi Kemas last week and was advised that they (Lands Department) had no knowledge of the eviction notice and were also of the opinion that it was a forged document.

Police were also not aware of any eviction notice or instructions to physically evict the people.

The families were threatened with an eviction notice in October which lapsed on Nov 15 and had been pursuing the matter in court since then.

The West Papuans, originally from the East Awin Refugee camp, had settled in Port Moresby.

They fled Indonesia’s Papua province in the early 1980s pursuing independence. They first settled at 8-Mile after Sir Pita Lus verbally agreed to have them settle there.

After allowing them to settle there for 20 years, Sir Peter decided to bring in an Asian investor to develop the land.

+++niuswire

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