Jayapura, Jubi – The Prime Minister (PM) of Papua Nugini, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has highlighted the importance of all nations, large and small, engaging meaningfully in order to manage global political issues that have local implications. One of those issues is West Papua.
O’Neill made the comments at the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) in Iwaki, Japan, on May 23.
“Two international cooperation issues that are very important for Papua New Guinea – that relate to issues outside our borders – include people smuggling, and the issue of our brothers and sisters in West Papua,” O’Neill told forum as press release made by PNG’s Government on Tuesday (26/5/2015).
O’Neill said, in relation to people smuggling and asylum seekers – men, women and children were dying as they tried to make a boat journey from Indonesia to Australia, these were desperate people – some of them being legitimate refugees – but all were being preyed on by people smugglers.
“Papua New Guinea, like Nauru, was asked to help in stopping these deaths at sea,”
But the Regional Processing Centre on Manus has had its challenges. PNG are gradually moving people out of this facility – many returning back to their home countries when they are fount not to be legitimate refugees.
“We are also inviting some of these people, those who have been found to be legitimate refugees, to come and live in our country – to work in jobs where their skills are needed and they can become part of our communities,” O’Neill added.
Then PM addressed another area of great importance issue for PNG. This is about human rights and well-being for Melanesians living in West Papua. PNG G, O’Neill continued, has been working behind the scenes with the Government of Indonesia to see what his conutry can do. He said that he have discussed these issues with President Yudhoyono, and now he are engaging meaningfully with President Joko Widodo.
“President Widodo is a man who understands the situation in West Papua – and he appreciates that Leaders from the Pacific community can help,”
PM empashed, that Papua New Guinea has been clear in stating that our issue is concern for human rights. PNG are proposing that the elected Governors of the five Melanesian provinces in Indonesia be represented at our sub-regional meeting – through the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
“This is the only way to bring elected representatives of Melanesian people in Indonesia to the table. There is not a collective voice amongst the various political movements,” O’Neill stressed.
He also addressed the Government of Indonesia statement about 11 million Melanesians living in Indonesia. Regarding this statement, O’Neill proposed to have representation from the elected leaders. Then his country can continue to work to improve social conditions, and empower people to engage in business and improve the Melanesia communities in Indonesia.
“Playing emotional politics through the media is not the way to manage international issues in the modern world. This applies to dealing with issues such as climate change, asylum seekers, West Papua, as well as our own interaction between Pacific Island nations,” O’Neill said. (Victor Mambor)