The Manam Resettlement Authority (MRA) is a Special Purpose Authority established by an Act of Parliament to institutionalize the long-term planning and development for the permanent resettlement of the Manam Islanders displaced by several volcanic eruptions in the last 20 years.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, the National Parliament in 2016 passed the Manam Resettlement Authority Act 2016 to provide for the establishment of the Manam Resettlement Authority.
The MRA is a corporate body with perpetual succession that may acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property; and may sue and be sued in its corporate name.
The functions of the Authority are as follows:
- to identify and acquire land for the resettlement of displaced persons, including to negotiate with landowners in Anduram;
- to provide services and infrastructure for the resettlement area, including building access roads, an airstrip, schools, aid posts and ensuring a safe water supply;
- to provide for Care Centres and associated services, such as healthcare, education, food and safe water supply, until such time as displaced persons are resettled;
- to liaise with donors and international organizations to ensure services to displaced persons are properly coordinated and satisfy general acceptable international standards;
- to ensure that the human rights of displaced persons and the members of the host communities, being those people living in the Asuramba, Mangem and Potsdam areas which host the Care Centres, are protected; and
- to develop a process for displaced persons to apply for permission to return to Manam Island.
For over 15 years, the Internally Displaced People (IDP) of Manam have been living in Care Centres on mainland Bogia under harsh conditions, which is an humanitarian disaster. Some have returned to the island, only to be affected again by more eruptions.
Past political leaders have not addressed the IDPs permanent resettlement issue and their host communities’ plight due to political reasons. The O’Neill Government has now started the process to work with the people to find permanent and sustainable resettlement solutions.