Lobby group bemoans 'missed opportunity' by Forum on West Papua

An Australian-based human rights lobby group wants Pacific Island leaders to be united and take action on the human rights abuses taking place in West Papua.

The Sydney-based Australia West Papua Association's spokesperson Joe Collins said the people of Indonesia-occupied West Papua see themselves as part of the Pacific community.

Collins said the outcomes statement by the Forum Leaders in Suva last week - which failed to mention West Papua - is a "missed opportunity" to help people who are suffering at the hands of Jakarta actions.

He said regional leaders must urge the Indonesian government to allow for a fact-finding mission to the territory.

"It's very important that West Papua appears to be making progress, particularly in this region which has the support of the people of the region.

"I understand that the PIF has major problems .... climate change, fisheries. But I would seem that it will not take an awful lot just to acknowledge the suffering of the West Papuan people suffering under Indonesian rule."

"You would imagine that in a giant forum with 18 members that could be a very collective way of raising the issue without Jakarta singling out any one country for criticism."

The Australian West Papuan Association describes itself as a group of supporters of human rights including West Papuan self-determination.


Photo Joe Collins  Caption: Hundreds of ni-Vanuatu, and West Papuan representatives, march to the Melanesian Spearhead Group secretariat in Port Vila.