By Fabian Hakalits – EM TV News, Arawa
Fresh calls have been made to the National and Autonomous Bougainville Government’s to work closely with families of the missing people, in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, with identifying and repatriating remains of their loved ones.
Mirriam Solomon, a mother who lost her son during the Bougainville Crisis made this call during the International Day of The Disappeared that was commemorated in Arawa yesterday.
For this year’s celebration, families of the missing persons commemorated those lost under the theme ‘Still in Darkness and Still Waiting’.
Families turned up in numbers to remember their loved ones who were lost during the Bougainville Crisis and remain unidentified until today.
It started with a silent march around Arawa Town, to photo exhibition.
According to representatives of the Families of the Missing Persons, Mirriam Solomon and Peter Garuai, who is the chairman of the Davoru Besi Family Association, Bougainvilleans are still asking questions about the fate of their loved ones.
According to ICRC Head of Mission in PNG, Gauthier Lefèvre, the issue of missing persons is just beginning to be recognised as a humanitarian priority in PNG by all stakeholders including both governments.
“There are still many needs to be addressed such as the practical problems and emotional suffering faced by the families of the missing persons,” ICRC Head of Mission in Papua New Guinea, Lefèvre said.
The Autonomous Bougainville Government adopted a policy on missing persons in 2014, putting needs of families in the centre of the process, but the policy needs to be implemented.
The National Government is in the process of creating their own policy that will help the process in Bougainville, once it is approved.
All issues related to accountability and compensation are excluded from the policy in Bougainville.