15 Jul 2011

Resettlement programmes

Resettlement programmes

In 1984, in response to an OPM-organized rebellion in Irian Jaya, Suharto announced a stepping-up of his ‘transmigration programme’, aimed at resettling families from overpopulated Java, Madura, and Bali in sparsely populated outer islands, such as Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Irian Jaya, where interethnic friction was evident. Over 6 million people were relocated in this way, but transmigration was subsequently scaled down because of environmental and economic problems. The programme was strongly opposed by native Melanesians and created more than 10,000 refugees in neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

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