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

 

PNG: Workshop on people missing since Bougainville 1989

12-02-2014 News Release 14/23

Port Moresby (ICRC) – About 20 community leaders and representatives of local NGOs, religious organizations, women’s groups and the Panguna Peace Building Strategy Committee came together in Arawa last week for a one-day workshop hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Papua New Guinea Red Cross.

The aim was to raise awareness of the multitude of problems faced by families of persons who went missing during the Bougainville crisis. Participants also discussed in practical terms how to clarify the fate of the missing, as well as possible avenues to support their families.

The fate and whereabouts of many people who vanished following the outbreak of violence in Papua New Guinea in 1989 remain unknown, causing anguish and uncertainty for families and friends who are often unable to grieve. Some of those who disappeared were breadwinners whose families were left struggling to make ends meet, in some cases even years later.

"If no action on the missing is taken it will hinder the peace process in Bougainville," warned Peter Garawai, paramount chief of Pok Pok Island, who attended the workshop.

Under international humanitarian law, families have the right to be informed of the fate of missing relatives. Governments, military authorities and armed groups have an obligation to provide answers.

Since 2012, the ICRC has been working with the Bougainville and PNG governments to have the issue of the missing included in efforts to promote peace and reconciliation, for example in the Peace and Security Implementation Strategy. "Only the authorities and the people themselves can resolve the issue. The ICRC is here to provide advice and expert support," said Brendan St. John, head of the organization's office in Arawa.

In dozens of countries around the world, the ICRC seeks to ease the suffering of the families of people who have gone missing in connection with armed conflict. "We have witnessed at first-hand how addressing this complex issue can help communities cope with their loss, strengthening peace and reconciliation processes," said Mr St. John. "The families have a right to know what happened, and to have the remains of their loved ones returned."

Two further workshops will be organized by the ICRC and PNG Red Cross in Buka and Buin later this year. Many of the participants, however, agreed that even more such events would be needed throughout Bougainville to raise awareness about the issue and its role as a key component of peace and reconciliation. Some left with the intention of holding their own consultations in their home villages and communities, encouraging the involvement of Village Assemblies and Council of Elders.

"Dealing with the issue of people who went missing in Bougainville – whether as civilians or taking an active part in the fighting – is a must," said Danny Palipal, chairman of the Bougainville branch of the PNG Red Cross. "We have already waited too long."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Euro-Med Monitor: Sudan Military Coup Shatters Democratic Path, Threatens With Authoritarian Rule Return
The Sudanese army's seizure of power in the country diminishes the hard-won human rights and civil gains achieved after the December 2018 protests, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said today in a statement...More>>


Weather: Pacific Likely To Experience Double Dip La Niña Episode

The Pacific is likely to experience a rare occurrence of what is called a double dip La Niña in the coming months, Climate models and predictions tools used by Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological services (NMHSs) show...
More>>

CNS: Will India's 1 Billion Vaccination-dose-milestone Be Catalytic For Vaccinating All?

On 21 October 2021, India crossed its milestone of administering over 1 billion (100 crores) doses within 278 days since it began the vaccination rollout (on 16th January 2021)... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Climate: ‘Vague’ Net Zero Promises Not Enough: Planet Still On Track For Catastrophic Heating, UN Report Warns

New and updated commitments made ahead of the pivotal climate conference COP26 in the past months are a positive step forward, but the world remains on track for a dangerous global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century even if fully met, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned... More>>

Pacific: Young Climate Leaders Call For Urgent Climate Action Ahead Of COP26

Eight Pacific Young Climate Leaders shared their experiences of climate resilience and activism in an inaugural dialogue with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Mr Henry Puna on 21 October 2021... More>>

UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>