PNG SUPPORTS INDONESIAN REFUGEE RESOLUTIONS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 22, 2001 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---Papua New Guinea supports five Indonesian resolutions calling on countries in the region to cooperate in solving the problems of refugees and displaced persons.

Speaking at the Plenary Session of the 9th Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) in Valparaiso, Chile, the Speaker of the National Parliament, Bernard Narokobi, said, "Papua New Guinea supports the five resolutions proposed by Indonesia."

The resolutions call for the following:

* The need for all States to respect to the principles of sovereignty, political independence and territorial of State in the question of refugees and displaced persons and in this context, recognize the full responsibility of the State concerned on displaced persons.

* The need for all States, international organisations, particularly the United Nations, and relevant non-government organisations to take part and to share the responsibility in seeking durable and timely solutions to the problem of refugees in joint efforts to prevent conditions that might give rise to the flight of refugees, and to address the root causes of refugees outflows, particularly in the countries of origin.

* The importance of international solidarity and burden-sharing in resolving the question of refugees and urges all States and international organizations to cooperate in the efforts to ease the burden born by States that have received large numbers of refugees and displaced persons.

* Potential donor countries, international organizations, particularly the United Nations and relevant non-government organisations to extend their expertise and financial support to help countries, particularly developing countries, in finding the best and timely solution to the question of refugees and displaced persons.

* All members of the APPF to take effective steps to facilitate help and monitor their governments and societies in finding solutions of the question of refugees and displaced persons.

Mr. Narokobi told the forum that in 1984, as a private lawyer, he defended 10,000 Irian Jaya (West Papua) refugees in court.

"I took both my government and the Indonesian government to court over the status of the Irian Jaya (West Papua) refugees and we won. I defended 10,000 of them," he said.

"Although I support the resolution, I do not think it goes far enough to clearly spell out the legal status of refugees. If they are genuine refugees they must be recognized as such.

"We must protect refugees regardless of where they come from. They are human beings who are entitled to the basic necessities in life," he added.

The speaker strongly urged the APPF to get their governments to play active roles in finding ways and means of dealing with refugees.

The Canadian and New Zealand delegations at the APPF also strongly supported the resolutions on refugees and displaced persons.

Meanwhile, in his address to the forum following the official opening by the President of Chile, Mr. Narokobi said the APPF should be more effective in addressing the issues affecting the region.

"Today we suffer from a different war, the war of under-development, hunger, poverty, greed, selfishness and domestic violence against women. This type of war is worse than the military involved war. The problem of refugees in West Papua is the result of the so-called territorial boundaries created by the colonial masters," the speaker said.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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