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Leaders Should Raise West Papua With Indonesia

Forum leaders should raise West Papua with Indonesia

AWPA Sydney urges the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting  in Tonga this week to  discus the gravely deteriorating situation in West Papua.

There are ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua and since last year's PIF meeting, the situation has deteriorated with increasing intimidation of human rights defenders and church leaders  to stop them bringing  to the world's attention the human rights abuses being committed by the police and military in West Papua.

Joe Collins of AWPA said  "Because Australia has signed a treaty with Indonesia, The Lombok Treaty, it is to be expected that Australia will try and keep West Papua off the agenda. However, it is hoped the other Pacific leaders including the New Zealand Prime Minister will raise concerns about the human rights situation in the territory.

It should be remembered that West Papua has always been considered part of the Pacific Community. Netherlands New Guinea, as West Papua was then known, was a member of the South Pacific Commission (SPC), a forerunner to the PIF  A West Papuan representative attended the first SPC Conference and West Papuans continued to participate in the SPC meetings until the Dutch ceded their authority to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) in 1962.

It's time for  West Papua to be brought back into the Pacific community by the Forum. West Papua sould be granted observer  status as has already been granted to a number of non-sovereign territories, Collins said.

Indonesia attends the PIF as a post forum dialogue partner. If the Forum granted observer status to West Papua, the Forum could become an excellent arena for the Indonesian and West Papuan representatives to meet and attempt to solve the many issues of concern in West Papua.


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