Through a press release on 8 October 2020, the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Honourable Kausea Natano, has reaffirmed the importance of open and constructive dialogue on the human rights situation in West Papua. Following the intervention of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu in the general debate of the 75th Session of the General Assembly of the UN, in which he brought up the human rights situation in West Papua, the Pacific Islands Forum is requesting an update on the consultations with the Government of Indonesia concerning the invitation for a UN mission to West Papua. The press release reads as follows:
The Pacific Islands Forum Chair Reaffirms Support for Open, Constructive Dialogues, Human Rights Mission to West Papua (Papua)
8 October 2020
The Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Honourable Kausea Natano, has reaffirmed the importance of open and constructive dialogue on the human rights situation in West Papua (Papua).
In line with the Forum Leaders decisions in Tuvalu in 2019, the Forum Chair has this week written to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet, requesting an update on the consultations with the Government of Indonesia concerning the invitation for a mission to West Papua (Papua).
The Forum Chair further reaffirmed the Forum Leaders call for all parties to protect and uphold the human rights of all residents and to work to address the root causes of the conflict by peaceful means.
This comes following recent escalations in West Papua (Papua), including the shooting and death of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani in the last week. Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General, Dame Meg Taylor, echoed concerns about recent reporting and fresh allegations of abuse and violence against protestors, and the ongoing human rights situation in West Papua (Papua), “Without the appropriate access of independent media, civil society or human rights groups in West Papua (Papua), it is difficult to verify the reports from opposing groups. Nevertheless, the reports and footage are disparaging, and I remain deeply troubled with conflict and human rights abuses in the region.”
Dame Meg added, “I recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has refocused the region’s attention and rightfully so, however, this does not mean that we should negate our continued advocacy efforts on key Forum priorities such as this. Similar to this, we as the Blue Pacific, continue to actively advocate and engage on urgent priorities such as climate change and oceans.”
The issue of West Papua (Papua) has been on the Leaders agenda since 2000 and through the involvement with Pacific civil society, became a standing Leaders agenda item in 2015.