Dancers perform at a unification event between three West Papua freedom groups based in Papua New Guinea Photo / PNG Loop
Monday 6th April 2015
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
– for immediate release :
. . .
West Papua must be given full membership at the Melanesian Spearhead Group, says the Pacific Freedom Forum.
"The people of West Papua have long been denied basic human rights by their own government," says PFF Chair Titi Gabi.
"They are therefore justified in seeking support and assistance for those rights from outside their own borders."
The Melanesian Spearhead Group will decide on an application for full membership from West Papua groups in June.
PFF is calling on the Melanesian Spearhead Group to support internationally recognised West Papua organisations, rather than a recent initiative from Indonesia.
"Indonesia already has observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group," says Gabi.
"They need to step back and allow West Papua to establish full and proper relations with their Melanesian brothers and sisters."
A recently established coalition of freedom groups called the United Liberation Movement for West Papua is now competing with an initiative from the Indonesian government to gain recognition for its own grouping.
PFF has previously joined international concerns about human rights abuses by Indonesian security forces in West Papua, including against freedoms of speech, along with assault, arbitrary arrest, torture, rape and murder.
PFF co-Chair Monica Miller says there is growing recognition for West Papua to have a voice at the regional level.
However she says there are mixed signals from within the Melanesian Spearhead Group, about which group to support.
"It makes absolutely no sense for MSG to give priority to Indonesian voices when Indonesia denies those same rights to its own citizens."
Indonesia was given observer status at the MSG in 2011, after support from Fiji.
Miller notes that support for West Papua has grown significantly since then, especially in Fiji.
A Facebook group called Fiji West Papua Friends has more than 10,000 members.
This compares with some 4,000 members in an Australian group, and 2,000 in New Zealand.
Support groups for West Papua have appeared in multiple locations across the region, including Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Indonesia lobbies MSG members as membership bid looms
CPJ | Media restrictions in Papua underscore Indonesia's wider problems
The price of protest in West Papua
Young social media users engaging more in Pacific issues, say campaigners
Tony Abbott has an Indonesian problem he doesn’t want to talk about
West Papua: Papua New Guinea PM Calls for Autonomy
Deported Benny Wenda was on ‘thank you’ mission to PNG for West Papuans
Youth in West Papua 'frightened' after shooting
Reports journalists were banned from asking about West Papua condemned
Fiji West Papua friends
Solomon Islands for Free West Papua
West Papua News
Australia West Papua Association
PFF ON WEST PAPUA
Questions on West Papua must be allowed - PFF
Governments must act against impunity - PFF
Full investigation needed into Papua protest deaths - PFF
Journalists arrest in West Papua defies presidential promise - PFF
Papua police ban on new mag illegal – PFF
Indonesia should release West Papua journalist immediately - PFF
West Papua: shootings and arrests attack on human rights
Indonesia brutality towards West Papua "medieval" - PFF
PFF joins call for action over plane attack in Papua
PFF supports no-treason call for West Papua
PFF Chair Titi Gabi | GM PNG Loop | Papua New Guinea Mail: PO Box 7776, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea | Mob: (675) 7314 3929 | Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
PFF co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa Mob (684) 258-4197 | Office (684) 633-7793 | Email: email@example.com
PFF Editor Jason Brown | Aotearoa New Zealand | Mob: +(64) 224340831 | Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media. We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.
. . .