West Papua No. 1 News Portal | Jubi
Jakarta, Jubi – Pacific Islands Forum, an intergovernmental organization consisting of 18 members, delivered a statement in a high-level meeting at the Human Rights Council of the United Nations on Feb. 24, highlighting three concerns: Covid-19, climate change, and human rights conditions in West Papua.
“The Pacific Islands Forum brings together 18 Member states to protect the people, place, and prospects of our Blue Pacific Continent. My statement today will highlight three Forum Leaders’ priorities – Covid-19 response and recovery; the climate change crisis; and human rights in West Papua (Papua),” said Meg Taylor, the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum.
Read also: ‘Important’ for UN to visit West Papua in light of human rights issue: Dutch minister
She addressed the high level meeting, saying that the violent conflict and subsequent human rights violations in West Papua has been a concern for the Pacific Island Forum Leaders for over 20 years. “In 2016, it became a standing agenda item for Forum Leaders,” she said.
“Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ focus on West Papua has been squarely on human rights – calling on all parties to protect and uphold the human rights of all residents, and to work to address the root causes of the conflict by peaceful means,” she went on.
Taylor said the escalation of tension in the recent years “has deepened the collective concerns of the Leaders of the Pacific.”
She said the leaders welcomed Indonesian government’s invitation for a mission to West Papua by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and they encouraged an “evidence-based report” on the situation in West Papua to be provided before their next meeting.
“We call on distinguished Council Members to encourage all relevant parties to urgently facilitate a mission to West Papua by the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” Taylor said.
Founded in 1971, the Forum comprises 18 members: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
In January, the Dutch government had said they deemed it “important” for the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights to visit West Papua.
“The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has not yet visited Papua, partly because a visit has become temporarily virtually impossible due to the corona crisis. She does have a standing invitation to visit Indonesia. The Dutch Permanent Representation to the UN discussed this with the cabinet of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Dec. 3. The Netherlands has indicated that it considers a visit by the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Papua important. The Netherlands will again indicate to the Indonesian authorities at the next opportunity that it is important that such a visit takes place as soon as possible,” Blok wrote in the document.
On Nov. 4, 2020, Nigel Adams, UK government Minister for Asia at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) who is also a member of parliament from Conservative Party, answered a question from a member of parliament about West Papua.
Adams’s answer was: “The UK supports a visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (ONHCR) to Papua. Officials from the British Embassy have discussed the proposed visit with the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and continue to encourage the Indonesian Government to agree dates as soon as possible.”
Earlier in September 2019, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said her office was “disturbed” by escalating violence in Papua and West Papua in the past two weeks, especially the deaths of some protestors and security forces.