Saturday, March 4, 2017

Media release-AWPA calls on the Australian PM to raise West Papua with Jakarta

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Media release 5 March 2017

AWPA calls on the Australian PM to raise  West Papua with Jakarta

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull heads off to Indonesia to attend the Indian Ocean Rim Association leadership summit in Jakarta (5-7 March).

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary and Indonesia is the current Chair.  The theme of the Summit is “Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable, and Prosperous Indian Ocean”.

Joe Collins of AWPA said,  “ While in Jakarta the Prime Minister has a chance to discuss the issue of West Papua with the Indonesian President, something he did not do on Jokiwi’s visit to Sydney last weekend”.

Supporters of West Papua in Sydney protesting durning Jokiwi's visit to Sydney (26 Feb. 2017)

AWPA would like to see Malcolm Turnbull follow the courageous stand of the Seven Pacific countries who raised West Papua at the UN’s   34th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva this week.

The Vanuatu Minister of Justice and Community Development, Ronald K Warsal, representing a coalition of seven Pacific countries – Vanuatu, 
Solomon Islands Palau, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu raised grave concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.

Collins said "There are an increasing number of bilateral visits between Australian and Indonesian officials and AWPA believes that these bilateral visits present an opportunity for an open and frank exchange on how to improve the human rights situation in West Papua. We urge the Prime Minister to take the issue of West Papua seriously. There is no point in ignoring West Papua. The issue is not going away".

In concluding his statement the Vanuatu Minister said 

"Mr. President, as I close, we believe that challenges of West Papua must be brought back to the agenda of the United Nations”.

AWPA calls on the Australia Government to support this call from the Pacific Leaders.

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