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Forum leaders put on notice
9:21 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2019, Tuvalu

Pacific churches and civil society groups have put regional leaders on notice to take immediate action on West Papua, women and children and climate change.
 
In a statement to the Pacific Island Forum, the CSOs called for a United Nations delegation to visit West Papua to investigate human rights abuse and to support a return of the territory to the UN Decolonisation list.
 
Pacidfic Conference of Churches (PCC) General Secretary, Reverend James Bhagwan, said there was also a call for a moratorium on seabed mining.  
 
These issues have been contentious with Forum countries split on how to approach Indonesia - an emerging development partner - and mining which is a potential revenue earner.
 
The CSO Form highlighted the effects of drugs and cyber violence as contributing factors to increased violent attacks on women and children, calling for the appointment of a group to monitor regional collective actions to minimise these threats.
 
Leaders were asked to strengthen border and customs controls as well as providing drug rehabilitation programmes.
 
The issue of nuclear testing, ownership of the oceans and special care for people with disabilities forced to move because of climate change were also highlighted by the CSOs as areas which must be urgently addressed.
 
Here are the main points raised by the CSOs with regional leaders:
 
Regional Security
 
1.As a way to promote regional security and gender justice for our women, girls and children, we CSOs call for Forum Leaders to appoint a Forum Eminent Persons’ group to report and to monitor regional, collective actions aimed at minimising these intersecting human security threats that are exacerbated by the climate crisis, illicit drugs, cyber violence and violence against women, girls and children.  
 
2.We also ask that this group report to Leaders annually on this issue. We call that this Eminent Persons Group promote inclusivity in its arrangements and conduct, and that civil society and womens’ organizations be part of this group.  
 
3.We call on Forum Leaders to have a coordinated response in strengthening national policy on border and customs control and to provide dedicated expertise and resources for drug rehabilitation.  
 
Climate change, ocean health and governance
 
1.We call leaders to support efforts to resolve nuclear testing legacy issues in the Pacific and to sign and ratify the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  
 
2.We urge Leaders to establish transparent and accountable governance and management of high-level coastal fisheries species in particular beche-de-mer and support a CSO mechanism within the SPC and PIFS  
 
3.Pacific CSOs encourage Forum Leaders to endorse a ten-year moratorium on Seabed mining within the United Nations Decade of Oceans Science for Sustainable Development (2021 – 2030), to allow for the generation of scientific data and information to better inform the governance and conservation of our Ocean.  
 
4.We urge leaders to call the UNGA to adopt a resolution requesting the International Court of Justice to provide an advisory Opinion on the obligations of States under international law to protect the rights of present and future generations against the adverse effects of climate change.
 
5.CSOs request that schemes by PIF countries which address forced climate displacement and relocation, including internal and external migration, treat families with dignity and be inclusive of people with disabilities.   
 
West Papua
 
1.We urge that Forum Leaders call on Indonesia to immediately allow access of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN special mandate holders to West Papua.  
 
2 We ask that Forum Leaders request that Indonesia immediately restore the access of independent journalists to the region, so that the international community can better assess the ongoing human rights situation in West Papua.  
 
3.We ask that Forum Leaders immediately support a UN Resolution to list West Papua on the UN Decolonisation list.


SOURCE: PCC/CSO/PACNEWS


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