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Another Eviction Attempt on West Papuans in Port Moresby

Distraught West Papuan refugees in Port Moresby are pleading with the Government of Papua New Guinea to send them to a third country following another eviction attempt on them.

The refugees say the eviction attempt and the court battle that they are pursuing over the property under dispute shows a distinct lack of government support to them as refugees.

The eviction exercise began around midday today on a property in Port Moresby by members of the Hohola police station.

Donatus Karuri, has been living on this property for over 30 years. He says they were not give any prior eviction notice. The police showed up this morning and forced them to start vacating the premises.

“Where will we go?” he asks.

The property in Hohola, has become an informal refugee camp for West Papuans who have come to PNG seeking safety and protection.

Recently the property has come under dispute forcing the refugees to go to court to maintain their right to remain on the property.

Last month, when EMTV News visited the property, the refugees said, they are aware of an eviction notice issued by the district court and were challenging it in the national court.

On August 8, 2016, a national court order stayed the eviction from being carried out.

This order was what saved the refugees from being homeless today.

Lawyer assisting the refugeesm Asher Waffi, brought a copy to show the policemen to stop the eviction exercise.

Donatus said this eviction attempt and the fact that they are representing themselves in court shows the lack of PNG government concern over their plight.

“If the PNG government is not concerned, send us to a third country,” Donatus pleaded, repeating a plea he has been making for some time now because of the lack of government support to them as refugees.

More than 50 men, women and children live on the property in Hohola. Some of the school children had to be taken out of school today to prepare to vacate their home, which fortunately for them did not occur.

While the title of the property is a matter before the  courts, the bigger question remains; How best will the PNG government provide practical support towards people who have been recognised as refugees, and are living on PNG soil?

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