Red Cross In PNG Is Calling For More Efforts To Establish The Fate Of Those Who Disappeared During The Bougainville Crisis

Aligns with International Day of the Disappeared, to remember families and loved ones who are still missing because of conflict, disaster or migration

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 30, 2016) – The International Committee of the Red Cross in Port Moresby is calling for more effort to establish the fate of and whereabouts of people who disappeared during the Bougainville Crisis.

It made the call yesterday as PNG prepares to observe today, August 30, as the International Day of the Disappeared, to remember families and loved ones who are still missing because of conflict, disaster or migration.

Today also marks the 15th anniversary celebration of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

A number of families still living with the disappearance of a loved one during the Crisis, that ended in 1998 runs into the hundreds and possibly thousands.

The obligation to provide information on the whereabouts of missing persons lies with authorities and all former parties to the conflict.

Head of ICRC office in Arawa, Fadi Farra, said disappearances in any conflict cause immense pain, as well as legal, economic and psychological problems.

“According to Bougainvillean tradition, it’s vital to be able to bury the deceased on their own land.

“But so many families on the island still don’t know what happened to their loved ones,” he said.

Commemorative events are planned in Arawa today, Buka tomorrow and Buin on September 1.

Chief Peter Garuai, chairman of the Davoru Besi Family Association, in Arawa said, “We’ve waited too long to give our loved ones a decent burial.” The people involved need to come forward, whether from the government, the PNG Defense Force or the BRA (Bougainville Revolutionary Army).”

The ICRC praised the progress the Autonomous Bougainville Government had made in addressing the issue, following its adoption of a policy on missing persons in 2014.

“We’re pleased that the ABG is taking the issue seriously,” said Farra.

“A Consultative Committee is meeting to consider establishing an Office of the Missing to deal with the question of missing persons,’’ he said.

PNG Post-Courier
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