Date: 17th August 2016
Suva – The groundswell of support for West Papua across the region is the ideal build up to the upcoming Forum Leaders meeting in Federated States of Micronesia says Pacific Islands Association of NGOs (PIANGO) Executive Director, Emele Duituturaga.
Duituturaga made the comments after presenting the issue of West Papua to the Regional Civil Society Forum in Suva, last week.
“There is definitely a change of mood across the Pacific on this issue as they begin to understand the severity of the human rights abuses and violence faced by West Papuans and the colonial history,” Duituturaga said.
“Our CSO forum heard of issues raised in national consultations and what other CSO partners had echoed and we were pleased to hear that there is widespread support from CSO partners across the region for this as a priority regional issue.”
“So it is heartening to see West Papua under the list of initiatives for leaders’ consideration in the summary of recommendations compiled by the Forum Specialist Sub-Committee on Regonalsim,” Duituturaga said.
West Papua is one of the six initiatives listed for leaders’s consideration and has been again reiterated by the Foreign Ministers meeting as one of the agenda items for leaders to consider at the September meeting.
“The Pacific Coalition on West Papua was set up by Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Sogovare after the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meeting to expand the advocacy network on the issue of West Papua from within the bounds of the Melanesian bloc to the greater Pacific Region to lobby for support for its resolve to take up the issue to the United Nations for intervention.”
“Polynesian leaders through the initiative of the Tongan Prime Minister are also mobilising their support after a meeting in Tahiti where they discussed this issue,” she said.
Duituturaga said civil society in the Pacific are looking forward to seeing West Papua on the agenda for the Forum Leaders meeting next month.
PIANGO will be organising a CSO Roundtable in Pohnpei prior to the Leaders meeting, at which the issue of West Papua will discussed as part of the broader decolonisation and self-determination agenda for the Pacific.