Melanesian children removed from their families in Papua

Human rights groups in Indonesia’s Papua province, and the Baptist Church in Jayapura say Melanesian children are still being removed from their families, and sent to Islamic schools in Jakarta.

According to a six-month Good Weekend investigation children, possibly in their thousands, have been enticed away over the past decade or more with the promise of a free education.In a province where the schools are poor and the families poorer still, no-cost schooling can be an irresistible offer.

But for some of these children, it’s only when they arrive that they find out they have been recruited by “pesantren”, Islamic boarding schools, where time to study maths, science or language is dwarfed by the hours spent in the mosque.

There, in the words of one pesantren leader, “They learn to honour God, which is the main thing.”

It’s not clear if the practice has government support or is part of official policy.

Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , , ,