Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Clark should advocate for West Papua at Forum

Indonesia Human Rights Committee

Media Release: Helen Clark should advocate for West Papua at Pacific Islands Forum

21 October, 2005

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has sent an urgent fax to newly elected Prime Minister Rt Hon Helen Clark urging her to ensure that West Papua is highlighted at this year’s Pacific Islands Forum.

Last year Indonesian occupied West Papua somehow slipped off the agenda. But it would be outrageous if that were to happen this year when the Forum takes place on West Papua’s doorstep in neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has also called on all Pacific Forum leaders to grant West Papua observer status at the Forum, a right already granted to non-sovereign French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

The human rights situation in West Papua has deteriorated to such a point that a recent academic study suggests that the situation is approaching genocide. Moreover, Indonesia continues to defy international opinion by perpetuating impunity for the security forces personnel.

This year the Forum leaders should lobby Indonesia in the post-dialogue talks for:

- A Pacific Forum fact-finding mission to visit West Papua to investigate the human rights abuses

- An end to military and police impunity for human rights abuses

- Free and unfettered access to West Papua by journalists, international agencies, parliamentarians, UN representatives and diplomats

- For Indonesia to accept the united call of West Papuan church and community leaders for West Papua to be a “Land of Peace” and for a process of dialogue aimed at resolving the ongoing conflict.

It is the “Pacific way” to care about a neighbour in desperate need of international support. The Pacific Island Forum will be seen to be just a talkfest if it fails to face up to the situation this year.

ENDS

21 October, 2005

Rt Hon Helen Clark,
Prime Minister ,
Parliament Buildings,
Wellington. Fax 04-473-3579

Dear Helen Clark,

We would like to appeal to you in the strongest possible terms to ensure that the issue of West Papua is seriously considered at the Pacific Islands Forum.

As we stated in our July appeal to all Forum leaders, we maintain that West Papua should be granted observer status at the Forum as are the non-sovereign territories of New Caledonia and French Polynesia. We urge you to champion this cause as observer status would be entirely consistent with the Forum’s intention to be more inclusive and to improve regional governance and security.

Moreover, West Papuans were deprived of their former participation in Pacific regional bodies in the 1960s due to series of historical injustices which culminated in a 1969 sham referendum called the “Act of Free Choice”. This process ensured that 1.022 unrepresentative Papuans voted under duress for West Papua to become part of Indonesia. Subsequently the people have known only the suffering of ongoing conflict, tragic loss of life, brutal military campaigns, deprivation of civil liberties, desperate underdevelopment and ongoing human rights abuses.

In the 2004 “Pacific Vision” statement the leaders expressed a commitment to a region “respected for the full observance of democratic values, and for its defence and promotion of human rights.” To be consistent with this vision the Forum leaders must take account of the deteriorating situation in West Papua.

There are severe restrictions on access to the territory which means that international aid and human rights organisations and journalists cannot carry out their work. Local human rights defenders are routinely intimidated and threatened with violence. For more than a year the people or the central highlands have endured a military operation which has seen thousands displaced and an unknown number of lives lost due to starvation and extra-judicial killings.

Indonesia continues to defy international opinion by perpetuating impunity for the security forces personnel. A human rights court recently acquitted the two senior police officers who were in charge in December 2000 when the military attacked a Papuan student dormitory. In the ensuing violence 3 students died and dozens more were terribly tortured.

In August 2005, the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney issued a Report “Genocide in West Papua” which detailed potential threats to the survival of the Papuan people. Over and above military abuses, these included environmental devastation due to forestry depletion and the mining activities of Freeport McMoran, as well as uncontrolled migration and an explosion of HIV/Aids.

This year’s Forum takes place in Papua New Guinea – the other half of the island shared with West Papua. This emphasises that the West Papuan people belong to the Pacific ethnically, geographically and culturally. Like it or not West Papua’s neighbours cannot avoid sharing the negative consequences of political stability, as well as the impacts of a sharp deterioration in West Papuan environmental and human health.

For four years until 2003 the Forum included a statement of concern about West Papua in its Communiqué. However, no action ensued. This year the leaders should show that they are serious about their regional responsibilities.

They should take advantage of the participation of Indonesia in the post-dialogue meetings to lobby for:

- A Pacific Forum fact-finding mission to visit West Papua to investigate the human rights abuses

- An end to military and police impunity for human rights abuses

- Free and unfettered access to West Papua by journalists, international agencies, parliamentarians, UN representatives and diplomats

- For Indonesia to accept the united call of West Papuan church and community leaders for West Papua to be a “Land of Peace” and for a process of dialogue aimed at resolving the ongoing conflict.


It is the “Pacific way” to care about a neighbour in desperate need of international support. The Pacific Island Forum will be seen to be just a talkfest if it fails to face up to the situation this year.

Yours sincerely,

Maire Leadbeater
(for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee)

CC Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
Mr Greg Urwin, Secretary General

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Mayor of Auckland: Alert Level Change Welcome News

Mayor Phil Goff says the government’s decision to move Auckland to Level 2 from 6am on Sunday will be welcome news for all Aucklanders.
“Moving strongly and quickly to contain this outbreak has once again proved effective in stopping the spread of community transmission and I thank all the Aucklanders who have followed the rules of Level 3 over the past week,” he says... More>>


 


Earthquakes: Tsunami Activity – Cancelled

The National Advisory issued at 2:48pm following this morning's earthquakes near the KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION is cancelled.
The advice from GNS Science, based on ocean observations, is that the Beach and Marine threat has now passed for all areas... More>>

Joint Press Release: Dirty PR Exposed In Whale Oil Defamation Trial

Three public health advocates are relieved that their long-standing Whale Oil defamation trial against Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham, Katherine Rich and the Food and Grocery Council has finally concluded and they are pleased that the truth has come out... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Next Stage Of COVID-19 Support For Business And Workers

The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Balanced Economic Approach Reflected In Crown Accounts

New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected.
The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU)... More>>


Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels