Helen Clark should advocate for West Papua
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:
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.