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New Un Chief Interest in Peace May Benefit West Papua



Date: 18 October 2016

Suva - A peaceful end to the occupation of West Papua by Indonesia is a real possibility with the election of the United Nation’s next secretary general, Antonio Guterres last week says the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs.

PIANGO executive director, Emele Duituturaga said the former Portuguese prime minister and U.N. refugee chief’s response to his election as the new UN secretary general inspires hope and optimism for the freedom of West Papua.

“Gutteres spoke about the UN’s “moral duty and the universal right” to ensure peace and that as secretary general he would be promoting a new "diplomacy for peace".

She said his sentiments are exactly the kind of motivation Pacific civil societies need to up their efforts on advocating for a UN Special rapporteur on West Papua.

“Ongoing conflicts such as that in West Papua targeting Melanesian Papuans and the blatant human rights violation and abuses of a particular ethnic and cultural group is often complex and complicated and requires the involvement of a trusted independent facilitator or a peace broker. Gutteres may just be the man for the job.”

Duituturaga said Pacific civil societies are encouraged by Gutteres comments about the need for a humble approach to today’s complex world.

“He did admit that the UN secretary- general alone did not have the answers but that a humble approach might require availing his resources to help find solutions.”

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She said this indicates that for the first time there is willingness to listen to all sides of the story.

“Gutteres has the opportunity to create history by inviting representatives of the indigenous communities of West Papua into the dialogue space that is often dominated by Indonesia’s version of the conflict. His election presents all kinds of opportunities for us here in the Pacific.”

Duituturaga said she would be visiting the UN headquarters in the new year and will seek to meet with the newly elected UN chief.

“It would be an opportunity to convey compliments from civil societies in the Pacific on his appointment as well as remind him of the need for the UN to take the necessary action on West Papua.”


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