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The Pacific Conference of Churches says it is unimpressed by comments made by Indonesian officials at the recent Pacific Island Forum Leaders' Summit in Apia.
The General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, said a protest that took place during the forum supporting West Papua's independence was nothing new.
Pihaatae said it illustrated the strong support from some. But he urged all Pacific nations to express their concern as seen in Samoa.
Indonesia's Ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga, Tantowi Yahya, was at the meeting and condemned the protest and accused Pacific Islanders of being misled on a human rights situation that had largely improved.
But Pihaatae said the demonstrators believe that people in West Papua are still struggling.
"Whatever the Indonesian said, I will never, never believe that something is fine in West Papua because we have evidence that [they are] living out everyday, the killing of the people," Reverend Francois Pihaatae said.
Meanwhile, unions representing 320,000 New Zealand i workers have strongly endorsed the right of the people of West Papua to self-determination.
Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands are seeking to re-list West Papua with the UN Decolonisation Committee at its vote later this month.
NZCTU Secretary Sam Huggard said that West Papuans must have the right to self-determination.
“The 1962 New York Agreement has never been implemented. It gave the right for the people of West Papua to determine their future. Instead they have lived under Indonesian government repression.”
“Last Thursday, the national council of affiliates of the NZCTU voted to add their weight to growing international calls for self-determination for West Papua. It follows the signing in 2016 by 11 Members of the New Zealand Parliament from 4 different parties of a declaration in support of independence for West Papua that other Parliamentarians globally have signed. The whole world is watching.”
“We call on other Pacific Island heads of state to join the seven countries pushing to re-list West Papua with the UN Decolonisation Committee,” Sam Huggard said.
The NZCTU motion reads: THAT the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Te Kauae Kaimahi declares its support for the right to self-determination for the people of West Papua, and urges all governments including New Zealand to support an independent and internationally supervised vote....
SOURCE: RNZI/ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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