Pacific Islands Forum: Indonesia’s human rights abuses cast shadow over Forum

Thursday August 15, 2019 Written by Published in National
Pacific Islands Forum leaders line up for their iconic local shirt photo. 19081420 Pacific Islands Forum leaders line up for their iconic local shirt photo. 19081420

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna says having established diplomatic relations with Indonesia just recently means that he now has that basis to engage positively with them, rather sitting on the outside and throwing stones.

He says discussions on the West Papua issue are a concern to him and the forum who have touched on the subject many times in previous meetings.

Despite the leaders being guided by experts on the human rights violations and political independence issues of West Papua, the leaders are waiting on Papua New Guinea to decide what they want or need to do.

Out of respect, Puna says being guided by their views as to how the leaders should collectively handle the matter is the right manner to deal with the issue.

Puna says, “I know that this issue will come up during the retreat tomorrow, the leaders will have to deal with this.”

Indonesian-controlled West Papua forms the western half of the island of New Guinea.

The political control of the region has been contested for more than half a century and Indonesia has consistently been accused of human rights violations and violent suppression of the region’s independence movement who are campaigning for support to “Free Papua.”

The Human rights violations and political independence in West Papua is set to cause a controversial debate between leaders during the retreat at the Pacific Islands Forum.

Indonesia is not a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, but a dialogue partner attending this week’s forum.

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