A communique from the Forum mediaPosted: September 7, 2015
The Time is Now to Act on West Papua
By Joey Tau
Port Moresby – Solidarity groups throughout the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand are calling on Pacific leaders to act on the West Papua issue at this Forum Leaders meeting.
To not act on the issue of West Papua would be considered a moral failure of our collective leadership in the Pacific.
The call on leaders has gained momentum in light of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), with leaders expected to convene in Port Moresby this week, with West Papua being one of the top contentious priority areas on the leaders agenda.
Solidarity movements in the Pacific have peacefully demonstrationed with a firm message to PIF to endorese a fact finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights violations, to support the call for a UN Special Envoy on West Papua and to assist in placing West Papua on the decolonisation list at the UN.
Historically the Pacific Islands Forum leaders have demonstrated their moral and political leadership recognising the right to self determination struggles in our region, notably in relation to New Caledonia and in seeking just resolution for many other politically difficult issues in our region such as the radioactive contaminants in the Marshall Islands.
Our leaders have facilitated these difficult political issues with integrity in Pacific solidarity with the struggles of our people. PNG Union for West Papua (PNGUWP) Chairman, Ken Mondiai during peacful march over the weekend in Port Moresby said the issue of self determination including that of West Papua had been brought up at numerous Pacific leaders forum over the years, but very little had been done to address the growing human rights violations what continue to flood the media.
“The time is now and our current Pacific leaders must act on the issue drawing their strength from historical leadership to resolve this on going conflict in a just and peaceful manner.
“PNG has an important role to play at this forum and as host and incoming chair of PIF, we call on the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his Pacific counterparts to act morally and consciously when deliberating on West Papua,” stressed Mondiai,
PNG parliamentarian on West Papua and Oro Governor, Gary Juffa shared similar sentiments saying world leaders including our Pacific leaders have failed West Papua and continue to do so.
Governor Juffa labled the United Nations as a failed organisation saying, “the UN has done nothing to address its apathy in 1969 when it supervised and watched with disinterest the Act of No Choice in West Papua when 1024 elders were forced at gunpoint to vote under duress to be part of INDONESIA on behalf of the entire people of West Papua , yet the UN preaches about the rights, violence, and torture in other parts of the world.”
“We are not free in the Pacific until West Papua is free…the challenge is on our leaders to act on West Papua this week and we expect some firm outcomes.”
The Solomon Islands Solidarity Movement for West Papua has also joined in the regional call, stressing on other Pacific leaders to support the stand behind the leadership of Prime Minister, Manaseeh Songavare and special envoy on West Papua, Mathew Wale.
Coordinator of the Solomon Islands movement, Lilly Chekana said the people of the Solomon Islands have high expectation of their Prime Minister to champion the issue of West Papua, but are calling on other leaders in support the leadership of Songavare.
“Songavare was vocal during the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders meeting this year in Honiara and we expect him to do the same at this year’s PIF. The people of the Solomon Islands will continue to stand with our Pacific brothers and sisters in West Papua.”
Meanwhile, regional youth movement for West Papua, Youngsolarans have taken a strong social media drive with demonstrations outside. “We stand in solidarity with other regional movements are call on our leaders to endorse an independent fact finding mission to West Papua…we also want the leaders call on the UN to appoint a human rights special envoy to West Papua,” said Youngsolwarans Fiji spokesperson, Vuetasau Buatoka.
Mr Buatoka said there are talks of intense pressure from Indonesia on Fiji and PNG, “and we hope that our Pacific leaders are not influenced in their own forum space to negate their moral responsibility to West Papuans.”
As leaders travel into to PNG today, solidarity movements for West Papua will be hosting rallies through the Pacific.