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Hopefully PIF Secretary General will raise West Papua

Hopefully PIF Secretary General will raise West Papua with Julie Bishop.

6 February 2017

AWPA hopes the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor who is in Canberra this week will raise the human rights situation in West Papua with Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

The Secretary General is in Australia for regional policy consultations and her discussions will focus on ensuring that people are at the centre of development across the Pacific region. The agenda over the next two days will focus on the role of the Pacific Islands Forum and the region more generally within Australian Foreign Policy.

Joe Collins of AWPA said "West Papua is a major foreign policy issue for the region and we thank the PIF leaders for discussing and raising concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua at recent Forum meetings. Ideally, we would like the Secretary General and Julie Bishop to discuss a PIF fact finding mission to West Papua as was suggested at the 46th PIF meeting in Port Moresby”, when "Leaders requested the Forum Chair to convey the views of the Forum to the Indonesian Government, and to consult on a fact finding mission to discuss the situation in Papua with the parties involved".

Governments and the Australian Government in particular continue to say that the human rights situation in West Papua is improving. However, 2018 began with the security forces intimidating and arresting 14 members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) simply because they raised a KNPB flag (exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly). Although they were eventually released it indicates that the security forces continue to try and suppress any signs of what they term separatism.

The Indonesian President has said that West Papua is now open and the authorities are saying that the human rights situation is improving. If this is the case why not allow a PIF fact-finding mission to the territory?
Ends

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