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Priest wins prize for Papua peace efforts

Award recognizes progress towards peace, says winner

Priest wins prize for Papua peace efforts
Father Neles Tebay Kebadabi promoted dialogue between the Indonesian government and Papuan rebels (photo by Ryan Dagur)

Activist Priest Father Neles Tebay Kebadabi will collect South Korea’s prestigious Tji Hak-soon Justice and Peace Award on Wednesday for his struggle to bring an end to conflict in Indonesia’s easternmost province, Papua.

Fr Neles, a member of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference and organizations including the Papuan Peace Network, 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, natives and immigrants, he has dedicated his life to bring peace to everywhere he goes,” the Tji Hak-soon Justice and Peace Foundation said in a statement announcing this year’s award.

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

He will receive $10,000 during the awards ceremony to be held in Seoul. 

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