NZ needs to put West Papua on Pacific Island Forum agenda

The Government should put the issue of West Papua on the agenda of the Pacific Island Forum being held in Tonga in October, Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke says.

The leader of the Baptist church in West Papua, Rev Socratez Sofyan Yoman, is being hosted in Parliament today by Mr Locke.

“The rights of the Papuan people used to be discussed at the Forum, and were addressed in Forum communiqué for four years, from 2000 to 2003. However, for the past two years the issue has dropped off the agenda altogether,” Mr Locke says.

“This is not good enough. The Papuan people are a Melanesian Pacific people whose aspirations for self-determination have been crushed by successive Indonesian governments. The so-called Special Autonomy is not working, and Papuans are still being mistreated, and sometimes killed, by army units unaccountable to the provincial government.

“Reverend Socratez has confirmed that Papuans want the Forum to engage with this issue again, which is the same message I received when I visited the territory last year.

“New Zealand needs to live up to its role as a responsible Pacific citizen, make a stand on this issue, and ensure that it is on this year’s Forum agenda,” Mr Locke says.