Jayapura, Jubi – Pacific leaders’ lack of expressed commitment to action the case of West Papua at their meeting in FSM may be due to geo politics says Pacific Islands Association of NGOs executive director, Emele Duituturaga.
“Generally, the result of the 47th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting as articulated in their communiqué was a mixed one for civil society,” Duituturaga said to Jubi on Monday (12/9/2016).
But she said Pacific NGOs were happy that some of the issues we pushed for like the Pacific Framework for the Rights of Persons with Disability, Climate Change and disaster risk management, and coastal fisheries were endorsed by the leaders and reflected in the communiqué.
“For West Papua – while the human rights violations were mentioned, the push by CSOs to have West Papua raised at the United Nations is not reflected,” she said.
On West Papua, the 47th PIF Leaders meeting communiqué stated that “… 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. Leaders also agreed on the importance of an open and constructive dialogue with Indonesia on the issue…”
“An achievement is the agreement to keep the issue of human rights violations should remain on the leaders agenda. We know that a couple of members had hoped the issue of West Papua would be removed altogether.” she added.
She said Pacific NGOs understand from talking individually to leaders and officials that there were robust discussions by the leaders that was quite encouraging. They also know that the draft text reflected their intention to take West Papua to the UN but when the final communiqué was released, it had been watered down,.
“It is obvious that geo politics were at play which brings to question whether infact our leaders can be bold and courageous in the presence of neighbouring powers like Australia and New Zealand,” she said.
She said that the 16 CSO representatives at the TROIKA leaders breakfast dialogue felt successful and promising discussions were held on the issue. All those present expressed sentiments that the issue of West Papua – both in terms of human rights violations and self-determination were important. What those leaders at the breakfast articulated was that there are provisions in the UN that needed to be followed and utilised to bring the issue to the UN.
“We are concerned that this promising dynamic in the discussion civil society organisation representatives had with leaders at the breakfast was not present at all in the communiqué. Perhaps there is limited value to just talking to a handful and whether that makes an impact to the final discussions that leaders have at the retreat,” she added.
Regarding Duituturaga, the Samoan Prime Minister, who is the next PIF Chair had stated at the breakfast meeting that the CSO dialogue needed to take place with all the 16 leaders and not just TROIKA and he will see to that for next year’s PIF programme. This result (Communiqué) seems to confirm that this is really what’s needed to be done in order for leaders to commit to taking the issue to the UN.
However, Duituturaga said the Pacific Islands Coalition on West Papua (PICWP), which includes Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Republic of Marshall Islands, Nauru and Tuvalu and PIANGO, is an avenue which CSOs will tap into to continue to push the West Papua agenda at the UN.
“What is encouraging and positive however, is how PICWP member countries have visibly shown their commitment to take up the issue.”
Duituturaga said PIANGO will now work individually with those countries for UN intervention on human rights violations and to push for self-determination for West Papua at the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council and raise these matters with the UN Secretary General. (*)
PLI launch a new campus in West Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Vanimo, Jubi – Papua Language Institute (PLI) officially launch a new branch in West Sepik Province. A higher education service in Papua New Guinea has a similar vision with the PLI, which aims to reach educational service in all regions.
“Through our institution, we want to build collaboration to support the people of Papua and Papua New Guinea in learning English and Bahasa Indonesia,” Samuel Tabuni, the founder of Papua Language Institute told reporters in West Sepik on Friday, (13/12/2019).
Tabuni further admitted his institution has collaborated with a higher educational service in Papua New Guinea for two years before the launching. This collaboration is not only focused on language learning development but also other business.
“Papua and Papua New Guinea are families. But because of the language barrier, it hampers our communication and relationship. Therefore, we launch a branch of PLI here,” said Tabuni.
According to him, the provincial government of Papua has built good diplomatic relations with PNG. But, it needs to further transform this diplomatic relationship into an institution that can facilitate business, economy, and education. He believes that the international branch of PLI would not only launch in Vanimo, but there are also possibilities to launch in some border regions.
Furthermore, Tabuni hopes that the collaboration between the people of PNG and Papua can support the economic development of both areas and improve people’s livelihood.
“We hope there would be further collaboration in other sectors. Therefore, we can achieve better development and address poor communication, told Tabuni.
A student of PLI, Samuel Womsiwor, acknowledge the launching of PLI branch office in PNG. According to him, this international branch would enable students in PNG to exchange learning information with Papuan students to improve their intellectual skills.
“It’s very beneficial to improve the livelihood of people in Melanesian region as well as in Pacific,” said Womsiwor (*).
Reporter: Hengky Yeimo
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Pacific Forum countries urged to follow up on West Papua
Papua, Jubi – A West Papuan human rights defender has called for more Pacific islands countries to speak up internationally about human rights abuses in her homeland.
Rosa Moiwend, who has been visiting New Zealand this week, said it was important that Pacific Islands Forum countries advanced this issue to reflect widespread, grassroots concern for West Papua in the region.
At the 2015 Pacific Forum summit, leaders agreed to push for a fact-finding mission to Papua.
Indonesia is yet to allow such a mission to visit, but Ms Moiwend said forum members must follow this up.
“Because otherwise it’s just lip service from the forum,” she said.
“Members of the Pacific Islands Forum are also UN members, so we need more and more Pacific Island countries to speak about the human rights situation in West Papua.”
According to Ms Moiwend, while several small Pacific countries have raised Papua at the UN, bigger countries such as Australia and New Zealand should support them.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s infrastructure development drive in Papua is proving traumatic for remote indigenous communities, Ms Moiwend said.
Its centre-piece is the Trans-Papua Road project which is being built through some of Papua’s most remote terrain.
The project is also at the heart of heightened conflict in Papua’s Highlands since the West Papua Liberation Army massacred at least 16 road construction workers last December.
While conceding that opening up access to Papua through the project had its benefits, Ms Moiwend said it also brought outsiders and development that local Papuans were not prepared for.
“It will also open a space for more and more military and police posts along the road, because of the security reason that they will say.
“And it’s actually threatened people’s lives because for West Papuans people are traumatic with the presence of the military.”
Ms Moiwend’s family are customary landowners in Merauke in Papua’s south where rapid oil palm and agri-business development is underway.
“Customary land is actually affected by these big projects – food project and oil palm plantation,” Ms Moiwend explained, adding that indigenous communities had little say in the development
“I think government needs to discuss with the people. You can’t just come and (start) plotting the land and then invite the investor to come and invest their money because people rely on our land.
“The land is the source of our food. So if they want to replace with something else, then how can they provide food for our people?” (*)
Port Moresby evicts West Papuan refugees from city settlement
Papua, Jubi – About 250 West Papuans have been served notices of eviction to leave their settlement in Port Moresby, reports The National.
National Capital District Commission officials, escorted by police officers, handed the settlers demolition orders last Thursday and told them to leave their home in the suburb of Rainbow where they had lived for 11 years.
Communal leader Elly Wangai said that some of them were now PNG citizens after former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill allowed them to gain citizenship without paying the K10,000 application fee.
“But unlike other PNG citizens, we don’t have any land to go to. When we were given citizenship, the government did not give us land to settle. And this is the fifth time we have been evicted since 2007.
“We were first evicted from 8-Mile settlement and we settled outside the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Office at Ela Beach.
“Then we moved to the Boroko Police station. Then to Apex Park at Boroko and now to here.”
Wangai said they were willing to move from the settlement.
“This is a drainage area and we know that and we will move. But we want NCDC to provide land for us.
“If NCDC can evict other PNG settlements from 2-Mile and resettle them at 6-Mile, they should do the same for us.”
Wangai said they had once been given land at Red Hills in the suburb of Gerehu.
“But when we went there, developments were already taking place.
“So we had to return here. Since we were given eviction notices, our children were traumatised and did not attend school.
“Our mothers who are involved in small economical activities like selling doughnuts and ice blocks have stopped.
“They are finding it hard to earn money to look after their family. If we are given land to move, we will be confident to live our daily lives.”
According to ABC, Port Moresby Governor Powes Parkop was unaware of the move to serve the demolition orders or what had prompted it.
A vocal supporter of the West Papua cause, Parkop said he would work to stop – or at least stall – the process to carry out the demolition orders, and fulfill his promise to find the settlers a permanent home.
“I hope I can sort it out soon and get proper allocation of the land so they’ve got security and can build a future.” (*)
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