Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
Senator the Hon Marise Payne
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6100
Senate, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
7 August 2019
Dear Foreign Minister,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Australia West Papua Association in Sydney concerning the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tuvalu next week.
We are very encouraged that the PIF leaders at a senior officials meeting in Suva last week decided that the Human rights violations in West Papua should remain on the agenda at the Forum.
However, it is disappointing that Australia is the only country that opposed the inclusion of West Papua on the agenda.
We won't go into any great detail on the human rights abuses being committed by the Indonesian security forces in West Papua as we have already written to you a number of times on the issue and in particular on the security force operation in the Nduga region.
During the security operation in Nduga, thousands of villagers fled in fear of their lives as during these security force operations houses are burned, food gardens destroyed and livestock killed. The people have become internal refugees in their own land.
In one media report, an aid group, Solidarity Team for Nduga has reported that 182 people have died from famine and disease in displacement camps and thousands of children are unable to resume their studies because of the conflict in the region.
The PIF leaders at a previous meeting asked Jakarta to allow a PIF fact-finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the territory. Jakarta has not yet responded.
We urge you at the upcoming Forum in Tuvalu to support the PIF Leaders in pressing Jakarta to allow such a mission.
Pacific leaders have also declared a climate crisis in the region and are demanding an end to coal mining.
A declaration was signed by several regional leaders at the Pacific Islands Development Forum in Fiji, expressing grave concerns about the impacts the climate crisis will have on the Pacific. In it, the Pacific Islands Development Forum called on governments of countries with high carbon emissions to stop hindering climate change efforts. To the Pacific people the climate crises is the greatest threat to the Pacific, not China.
We urge the Australian Government to listen to the PIF leaders about the concerns they have on the climate crisis and not try and water down any resolutions at the forum that declare climate change the region's greatest security threat.
CC.Hon Alex Hawke MP
Minister for International Development and
the Pacific and Assistant Defence Minister