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Papuans step in to help Indonesian lawyer repay scholarship

Radio New Zealand - September 18, 2020

West Papuans have raised over $US50,000 to help an Indonesian human rights lawyer repay government-sponsored scholarship funding.

Veronica Koman, a renowned Papuan rights defender, was recently asked by Indonesia's government to repay scholarship money she received four years ago.

Koman was awarded a scholarship from the Finance Ministry's Endowment Fund for Education for her master's degree in law at the Australian National University

The Jakarta Post reported that the Fund requested the repayment while alleging Koman had failed to return to Indonesia after her studies as required.

However she refuted this claim, pointing out that she returned to Indonesia to mainly work as a human rights lawyer in Papua region.

A group called the Ebamukai Solidarity Team embarked on a fundraising drive in parts of Papua province last month. They collected just under $52,000 which they endeavoured to present to the ministry for repayment.

A member of the group, former Papuan political prisoner Ambrosius Mulait, said they were concerned for Koman who had helped Papuans and given them a voice.

Koman said she was moved and grateful for the donation, saying it meant that her education was financed not by Indonesia's government but by the Papuan people.

Source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/426398/papuans-step-in-to-help-indonesian-lawyer-repay-scholarship