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  • Ahisha Mangot

CBC PNGSI commemorates World Refugee Day

Port Moresby: The Migrants and Refugees desk of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNGSI commemorated the World Refugee Day on Thursday June 20, 2024 and had an exhibition to showcase 5 West Papuan Small Medium Enterprises which were sponsored by the CBC PNGSI Migrants and Refugees Desk.

(CBC Staff during the exhibition checking out the SME booths)

This SME program is part of a project funded by the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC). The ICMC is an international Catholic inspired organization that provides assistance and protection to the vulnerable people on the move and advocates for sustainable solutions for refugees and migrants.

This is the first time ICMC is funding a project in PNG, and there is prospect of similar assistance from ICMC to support the work of the Migrants and Refugees Desk of CBC PNGSI in the future.

The five Businesses are: Fokos Computer Services, Makomo Firewood Services, Cyclop Farming, Wespa Laundry Services and Sisters Catering Services.

The theme for 2024 World Refugee Day commemoration was “Our Home”

Present as guest speakers was the Deputy Chief Migration Officer for the PNG Immigration Citizenship Services Authority (ICSA) Mr Winis Map, and the Senior Protection Officer for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Mr Steven Paniu who gave talks regarding their involvement with refugees. 

Speaking at the program and representing the CBCs’ Director for Migrants and Refugee Desk Mr Jason Siwat was Migrants Officer Mr. Ephraim Bavi.

“In commemoration of the struggles that refugees around the world go through, we empathize with them and share the sentiments of one having the right to have a peaceful life free from oppression, despite of their race, religion, political opinion, nationality, and membership to a particular social group.” Expressed Bavi. 

 He also added that the theme of the of celebration stands to advocate for the inherent right of an individual to have a place that is safe and conducive for them to thrive as a human being, free from oppression,” said Bavi.

Sharing the same sentiments was the ICSA representative Mr. Map where he shared his personal experience saying that most of the refugees are in search for better lives and they are here with us now.

“This is will take years but doing something is better than nothing” he said.

He also commended CBC for giving the refugees an opportunity by investing in their SMEs as well as the Refugees for taking the step to do something that will benefit them.

“Seeing all smiles today is a milestone to be proud of.”

UNHCR Mr Steven Paniu in his talk also shared that no action is too small. 

“Committing to include refugees in our communities, workplaces and schools is the most effective way to support them. While most refugees often leave their possessions behind, their skills, qualifications and knowledge stay with them and in this way, they can contribute to the development of our country.” 

Mr Paniu also said that the launching of the business is an indication of refugees being included and expressed gratitude to CBC and PaciFund for this wonderful effort.

“Being a refugee is a circumstance and it does not define a person. Refugees must work together with the stake holders like CBC, ICSA UNHCR and others to make PNG a safer home for all” expressed Paniu.

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