West Papuan refugees allocated Port Moresby land for settlement

Some of the West Papuan refugees checking out the allocated land for their resettlement. Image: Loop PNG

By Nadia Marai in Port Moresby

About 10ha of land has been allocated to West Papuan refugees to resettle at Red Hills in the Papua New Guinean capital Port Moresby suburb of Gerehu.

The land was secured through consultations between the traditional land owners, the West Papua Relief Association and the National Capital District Commission with the assistance of NCD Governor Powes Parkop.

Governor Parkop, long a supporter of West Papuan issues stretching back to when he was a lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea, said NCDC was implementing a government decision made in 2010 to resettle the refugees.

The West Papua Relief Association has been working to resettle all West Papuan communities living around Port Moresby and to later consider ways to settle other refugees living outside capital and in other provinces.

The association won approval from NCD Commission on 20 December 2013 for the resettlement.

Most West Papuans have been living in Port Moresby for decades but without land rights.

They have previously faced eviction from their places of residence.

More than 200 West Papuan families who have lived in various locations are Port Moresby will now live in these allocated land.

They now have a proper and permanent place to settle but with the little they have, they have appealed to the government and NGOs to step in and help them buy building materials to construct homes.

They also plan to build a school and a church which will help build and strengthen the community.

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SOURCENadia Marai
My name is Nadia Marai and I'm from Papua New Guinea. I am a final year journalism student at the University of Papua New Guinea (2016). Due to the termination of the 2016 academic year, I hope to complete my degree programme next year in 2017. I love to write and travel. I believe in empowering young women and girls in my country to be successful in all aspects of life regardless of our cultural barriers.