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Forum seeks clarification on Papua access

Radio New Zealand - October 8, 2020

The chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano, says it's vital there is open and constructive dialogue on the human rights situation in West Papua.

He has written to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights, Michelle Bachelet, seeking an update on consultations with Indonesia about the Forum's desire to send a mission there.

Such a visit has been on the Forum's agenda for the past five years.

Mr Natano 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 follows a recent escalation in violence, including the killing two weeks ago of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani in Intan Jaye regency.

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.

"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," Dame Taylor said.

"Similar to this, we as the Blue Pacific, continue to actively advocate and engage on urgent priorities such as climate change and oceans," she said.

Source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/427877/forum-seeks-clarification-on-papua-access