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  • Donovan Pintol

WaSH Facility opened at West Papua Refugee Camp during International Migrants Day

Rainbow, Port Moresby: With the talks of Human rights and Freedom being one of the main discussed topics that are looming on several media platforms, the Migrants and Refugees Desk of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands celebrated International Migrants Day at the Rainbow West Papuan Camp on Monday December 18, 2023.

Attending the small yet hope-filled celebration were guests from the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees, St. Paul’s Clinic (Gerehu), Media personnel, Representatives from the different Commissions of CBCPNG&SI, West Papuan Community Leaders, and the West Papua Community of Rainbow. 

The celebration had as its theme: “Honoring the Contribution of Migrants and Respecting their Rights”. The event also coincided with the opening of two new septic toilets that were built under the CBC Migrants and Refugees Desk WaSH project. The toilets were erected by the refugees themselves to replace an old makeshift pit toilet that was built with cardboards and other materials. The facility, which is also kitted with lighting would now provide clean and secure access for everyone in the camp, particularly, the old and women and girls during the night. The facility is now accessible to more than 59 refugee families living there.

The Director of the CBC Refugee and Migrants Desk, in his address highlighted the unspoken reality of what migrants and refugees bring to the table, including recognizing their rights to basic needs.

“When migrants move, they bring new skills and knowledge, resources, culture, and lifestyle to their new country. When they use their skills, others learn from them; when they use their resources to establish business, they create employment; when they share their culture, they embrace diversity.”

Mr. Siwat’s statement was supported by the West Papuan representative and Rainbow Camp Leader Samuel Ingamer, who said that some of the migrants have become prominent figures with the society with the skills and talents they possess, and they surely do deserve recognition.

“A migrant or refugee also brings skills and knowledge apart from being a person in need in a society. One could never deny the fact that they have also helped contribute in one way or the other to the development of this nation over the years.”

Apart from the celebration, the residents of the West Papuan Camp in Rainbow were also privileged to have opened their two new septic toilets under CBC Migrants and Refugees’ Desk WASH Project. The project was funded by the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC). The International Catholic Migration Commission is an international organization that serves and protects uprooted people, including migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people, regardless of faith, race, ethnicity, or nationality. 

The event is one of the many for the Migrants and Refugees Desk that aims to support displaced people or otherwise known as people on the move. This includes migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons, among others.

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