UN Calls for an Immediate Cessation of Violence in Hela Province and Mobilizes Humanitarian Assistance for Affected Communities

Papua New Guinea conflict in Tari-Pori district, Hela Province

01 February 2021
A UNICEF worker prepares boxes of hygiene and dignity kits that were airlifted to Tari, Hela Province for hundreds of people displaced by recent tribal fights.
UNICEF/UN0410424/Chambers
A UNICEF worker prepares boxes of hygiene and dignity kits that were airlifted to Tari, Hela Province for hundreds of people displaced by recent tribal fights.

PORT MORESBY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, 1 FEBRUARY 2021 - The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gianluca Rampolla, has called for an immediate cessation of violence in Hela Province.

Mr. Rampolla said: “This senseless violence must stop now before more innocent people are killed, wounded or displaced. The United Nations stands by the Hela Government and is already mobilized to provide for the immediate needs of those affected by the fighting”.

The UN Resident Coordinator further stated: ““We appeal to the PNG Defense Forces and Police to assist the mediation efforts of the Provincial Government and ensure the safety and security of the affected communities. Stopping the spiral of violence requires holding to account and bringing to justice the perpetrators of crimes and providing for the immediate needs of those affected, especially women and children. The recent events once again remind all of us of the need to invest into ensuring longer term development to achieve peace in the Highlands”.

UN staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) joined a team from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Tari on Saturday, January 30, to verify information on the number of persons displaced, injured, and killed, and to assist in providing for immediate needs of those displaced.

Hela Governor, Hon. Philip Undialu, has indicated that urgent support is needed for temporary shelters, emergency food and water, and non-food items, such as hygiene and dignity kits, kitchen and bedding items. “We welcome Governor’s Undialu mediation efforts and are encouraged by the news that the parties have agreed to lay down arms and engage in dialogue”, said Mr. Rampolla.

The Disaster Management Team, in support of and in close coordination with Hon. Philip Undialu, together with church partners, civil society organizations, the private sector, and development
partners, including DFAT, is now mobilizing resources to ensure these needs are met and that the safety of displaced persons is assured.

The UN welcomes the incredible generosity of the communities that have provided shelter, distributed food and collected vital information for those displaced by this recent violence. The outpouring of support for affected families demonstrates the compassion of the people of Hela and reaffirms that the advocates for peace in Hela far outnumber those who perpetuate violence.

The United Nations in partnership with the Hela Government is committed to supporting peacebuilding and development in the Province through the Highlands Joint Programme.

Media contacts

Noreen Chambers
Communication Specialist
UNICEF
Tel: +675 321 3000

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Papua New Guinea, visit https://www.unicef.org/png/ 

Follow UNICEF on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube