Pita Ligaiula – New Zealand's Minister for Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta says the Indonesian Government needs to finalise the timing of the visit of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as soon as possible.
Mahuta in an interview with Fiji Live said last year, the United Nations received reports indicating several instances of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and the enforced displacement of at least 5,000 Papuans and the Office of the United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights need to be permitted to visit Papua as soon as possible.
"Aotearoa New Zealand recognises Papua as the sovereign territory of the Republic of Indonesia in accordance with the UN decision in 1969," she said.
"In the context of our open and constructive relationship with Indonesia, Aotearoa New Zealand continues to register its concerns with Indonesian authorities.
"This is in regards about the human rights situation in Papua, and encourages Indonesia to promote and protect the human rights of all its citizens.
"We joined and supported the Pacific Island Forum leaders call for the Office of the United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights to be permitted to visit Papua," she said.
Meanwhile, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Francisco Cali Tzay has called on the Indonesian Government to conduct full and independent investigations into the abuses.
Tzay said internally displaced persons in West Papua have not returned to their homes due to the heavy security force presence and ongoing armed clashes in the conflict areas.
"Thousands of displaced villagers have fled to the forests where they are exposed to the harsh climate in the highlands without access to food, healthcare, and education facilities," he said.
"We are particularly disturbed by reports that humanitarian aid to displaced Papuans is being obstructed by the authorities.
"Moreover, severe malnutrition has been reported in some areas with lack of access to adequate and timely food and health services.
"In several incidents, church workers have been prevented by security forces from visiting villages where I internally displaced persons are seeking shelter," he said.
He said unrestricted humanitarian access should be provided immediately to all areas where indigenous Papuans are currently located after being internally displaced.
"These cases may represent the tip of the iceberg given that access to the region is severely restricted making it difficult to monitor events on the ground," they warned.
"Security situation in highland Papua had dramatically deteriorated since the killing of a high-ranking military officer by the West Papua National Liberation Army, last year.
"Two children aged two and six, on 26 October, were shot to death by stray bullets in their own homes, during a firefight. The two-year-old later died," he said.
He said investigations must be aimed at ensuring those responsible, including superior officers where relevant, are brought to justice.
– Fiji Live/Pacnews