Vanuatu says the Pacific Islands Forum leaders have resolved for regional countries concerned about West Papua to take it up at the United Nations.
The Vanuatu prime minister Charlot Salwai says that Forum leaders at last week’s summit in the Federated States of Micronesia reached consensus on reports of alleged human rights violations committed by Indonesia in Papua.
According to the Vanuatu Daily Post, this includes the Forum bringing the allegations to the table with Indonesia, and taking up the case at the UN Human Rights Committee.
This comes after the Forum abandoned last year’s plan to have a fact-finding mission to Indonesia’s Papua region, after Jakarta opposed the idea.
Despite West Papua self-determination and human rights abuses being billed as a leading item for the Forum leaders agenda last week, the summit’s resulting communique was light on substance about Papua.
“Leaders recognised the political sensitivities of the issue of West Papua (Papua) and agreed the issue of alleged human rights violations in West Papua (Papua) should remain on their agenda,”
Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Charlot Salwai listens to speeches at the 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) opening in the Micronesian capital Palikir on September 8, 2016.
The leaders reportedly agreed on the importance of an open and constructive dialogue with Indonesia on the issue.
However the regional response about Papua is increasingly directed at the UN, rather than the Forum which Mr Salwai concedes has very few member states supporting the call for West Papuan self-determination.
He said the five Forum countries who do support it, believe that if there are human rights violations there, it is because of West Papuans’ political aspirations.
Mr Salwai said the Forum resolved for these countries to take up the case at the UN Decolonisation Committee and he is going to raise the issue of alleged human rights abuses in West Papua at this month’s UN General Assembly in New York.