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Struggle for peace in Papua recognised

SEOUL (UCAN): Indonesian Father Neles Tebay Kebadabi was awarded the prestigious Tji Hak-son Justice and Peace Award in the South Korean capital of Seoul on February 27 for his effort in bringing an end to the ongoing violence in the eastern Indonesian province of Papua.

Father Neles is a member of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, as well as belonging to the Papuan Peace Network, which has set up a new dialogue process between the Papua Independence Movement and the government in Jakarta.

“Father Neles is a bright, yet humble person. He was able to embrace people of all cultures and religion. From the poor to the rich, locals and immigrants, he has dedicated his life to bringing peace everywhere he goes,” the Tji Hak-soon Justice and Peace Foundation said in a statement announcing this year’s award.

Father Neles said he did not deserve the prize, but it indicates that Papuans and the Indonesian government are on the right track in trying to bring about peace.

He received US$10,000 ($77,450) as part of the award at a ceremony held in Seoul.

The award was named after Bishop Tji, who was imprisoned during the military dictatorship of the 1970s and early 1980s president, Park Chung-hee, for resisting the curtailment of civil liberties and freedom of media and speech. 

He was bishop of Kwangu.

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