PA­CIFIC IS­LAND NA­TIONS CALL FOR U.N. PROBE

They claim that the hu­man rights of na­tives in Pa­pua have been vi­o­lated

New Straits Times - - World -

SEVEN Pa­cific is­land na­tions have called for a United Na­tions in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions of hu­man rights abuses in In­done­sia’s West Pa­pua and Pa­pua prov­inces, where a separatist move­ment has sim­mered for decades.

A state­ment to a ses­sion of the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil in Geneva, read on be­half of the seven states by Van­u­atu’s Jus­tice Min­is­ter Ron­ald Warsal, ac­cused In­done­sia of se­ri­ous hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions of in­dige­nous Pa­puans, in­clud­ing ex­tra­ju­di­cial ex­e­cu­tions of ac­tivists and beat­ings and fatal shoot­ings of peace­ful pro­test­ers.

The state­ment on Wed­nes­day called on the coun­cil to re­quest a com­pre­hen­sive re­port from the high com­mis­sioner for hu­man rights and In­done­sia’s co­op­er­a­tion in pro­vid­ing un­fet­tered ac­cess to the two prov­inces, which in­de­pen­dence sup­port­ers re­fer to col­lec­tively as West Pa­pua.

In a right of re­ply, the In­done­sian del­e­ga­tion ac­cused Van­u­atu of “bla­tantly us­ing hu­man rights is­sues to jus­tify its du­bi­ous sup­port for the separatist move­ment in Pa­pua”, and said the gov­ern­ment’s record of pro­tect­ing hu­man rights “speaks for it­self ”.

Pa­cific is­land lead­ers an­gered In­done­sia last year when they used their speeches to the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly to crit­i­cise In­done­sia’s rule in West Pa­pua. Jakarta ac­cused them of in­ter­fer­ing in In­done­sia’s sovereignty and sup­port­ing groups that carry out armed at­tacks.

Warsal, who spoke on be­half of Van­u­atu, Tonga, Palau, Tu­valu, the Marshall Is­lands, Nauru and the Solomon Is­lands, said they also wanted to high­light the In­done­sian pol­icy of en­cour­ag­ing the mi­gra­tion of Ja­vanese and other eth­nic groups, which has led to the out­num­ber­ing of Pa­puans in their own land.

The In­done­sian gov­ern­ment “has not been able to cur­tail or halt these var­i­ous and wide­spread vi­o­la­tions”, he said.

“Nei­ther has that gov­ern­ment been able to de­liver jus­tice for the vic­tims.”

In­done­sia main­tains a tight grip on West Pa­pua and re­stricts jour­nal­ists from re­port­ing there. How­ever, the in­de­pen­dence move­ment ap­pears to be in­creas­ingly well or­gan­ised, with dif­fer­ent groups now united un­der an um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion.

West Pa­pua is home to the world’s largest gold mine by re­serves, one of the world’s big­gest cop­per mines and vast ar­eas of vir­gin for­est.

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