76 W. Papuans from Manus to head home

National, Normal


SEVENTY-SIX people from the West Papuan community in Manus province will move back to their homeland, as part of the nationwide repatriation of refugees from the Indonesian province.
This follows a three-day visit by three officials from the Indonesian Embassy and the National Department of Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs on a verification mission.
Abdul Hakim, from the information section at the Indonesian Embassy, told The National last Wednesday that so far, 76 West Papuans living in Manus province had confirmed their participation.
He said the verification process was basically to gather details of these individuals which will enable the embassy to prepare their passports and travel documents.
“If all goes according to plan, the move will be implemented next month,” Mr Hakim said.
He explained that the exercise was a voluntary repatriation programme funded by the Indonesian government but was being coordinated by both the Indonesian and PNG governments.
“Ninety-five per cent of the West Papuans living in Manus province are from the Keron Regency in West Papua, and there is where most of the 76 will be settled after arriving back in their homeland,” Mr Hakim said.
The repatriation programme came about after West Papua was finally granted special autonomy from Indonesia in 2001.