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Papuan Supporters Target Pacific Islands Forum

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Papuan Supporters Target Pacific Islands Forum

Participants at the West Papua seminar at AUT University over the weekend unanimously resolved to take the issue of the Indonesian-ruled province to the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Tonga in October.

The resolution called for the PIF to grant observer status to West Papuan representatives and for the PIF to mount a fact-finding mission to visit West Papua.

Documented allegations of genocide and human rights violations were made at the conference. - Te Waha Nui Online

By Laura Bond

AUCKLAND (TWN Online/Pacific Media Watch): Failure by the New Zealand government to accept West Papua as an independent nation is aiding genocide, according to Green MP Keith Locke.

At a West Papuan conference at AUT University over the weekend, Locke addressed a group of about 50 New Zealanders, Indonesian minority groups and West Papuan nationals.

He wants the New Zealand government to put more resources into investigating the claims of genocide and oppression against the West Papuan people by the Indonesian government.

"The New Zealand government needs to stand up to Indonesia and learn lessons from East Timor," he says.

Locke believes New Zealand's relations with West Papua are better than that of Australia.

In dealing with West Papuan issues, he says: "New Zealand tends to be a bit more constructive but still within the realm that West Papua is part of Indonesia.

"The government needs to be going on fact-finding missions to West Papua."

He also believes New Zealand could help on a more practical level by giving asylum seekers residency.

"We should be sharing the responsibility with Australia for the asylum seekers," he says.

In April 2005, Green MPs Rod Donald and Nandor Tanczos met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and presented him with a West Papuan flag - the "Morning Star" - to show their support for West Papua.

Matt Robson, member of the Progressive Party and a former MP, who also attended the conference, says it is important that the public knows more about the plight of West Papua.

"I don't think there will be any difference in the groundswell of support for the West Papuan people than there was for East Timor once the information is out.

"We do suffer human rights issues in all countries but West Papua more heavily than anywhere else."

Attending the conference was Rev Socrates Sofyan Yoman, president of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of West Papua.

He thanked the politicians for attending but added that more could be done.

"On paper this is very good, but in action not good. We want open dialogue."




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