Sunday, September 24, 2017

SOGAVARE CHALLENGES UN TO ACT SWIFTLY ON HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN WEST PAPUA


SOGAVARE CHALLENGES UN TO ACT SWIFTLY ON HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN WEST PAPUA

NEW YORK (22/09/2017): Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has challenged the United Nations General Assembly to act swiftly to stop ongoing human rights atrocities committed against the Melanesian people of West Papua.
Addressing the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York today (Friday 22nd Sept), Mr. Sogavare said the UN’ s lack of attention to the plight of the Melanesian people of West Papua grossly contradicts Article 73 of the UN Charter, which, speaks powerfully on fundamental human rights and in its 1960 ‘Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples’.
Mr. Sogavare told World Leaders at the UN that Solomon Islands position on decolonization and human rights issues are premised on principles that it had consistently upheld and in this connection, “Solomon Islands condemns the consistent human rights violations in West Papua”.
“Our Sustainable Development Goals that promote the notion of “no-one left behind” is synonymous to empty promises unless we, in the United Nations, take active steps to address the plight of the peoples of West Papua”.
“Indeed, we have left them behind some 50 years ago when we, as a Family of Nations, noted their plight without much to add. Since then, the peoples of West Papua were never allowed the proper act of self-determination guaranteed by the inalienable right to self- determination as expressed in UN human rights Covenants,” Mr. Sogavare said.
The Solomon Islands leader said only international action by individual countries and from leading organizational bodies of the international system, especially the United Nations General Assembly – can pave the way for the recognition of a people whose right to self-determination had been denied for nearly fifty years.
“Failing this, we as a Family of Nations will become complicit in perpetuating the suffering and being blind to the injustice; missing yet another golden opportunity to remain true to the saying of “leaving no-one behind,” Sogavare said.
At the 71st UNGA session last year, a group of Pacific Island nations called on the UN to address the human rights violations in West Papua and the Prime Minister today stand on behalf of Solomon Islanders and those in the Pacific region to reiterate this same call on the world body to address the plight of West Papuan women, children and men.
“Our people are watching, West Papuans inside West Papua are watching, praying and are hoping for a brighter future. They have come in numbers to express their hope for a better future. We as leaders have this responsibility of “leaving NO-ONE BEHIND,” Sogavare said.
The Prime Minister again encourages Indonesia to engage in more constructive dialogue, including with West Papua to find a way forward in addressing the aspirations of the people of West Papua while at the same time urges the UN to proactively engage in these dialogues.
Indonesia considers West Papua as one its Provinces since taking over that region from the Netherlands in 1969 under what was called the “Act of Free Choice” which it claimed West Papuan Leaders have decided to remain as part of Indonesia.
ENDS




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