Pohnpei, Jubi -Pacific leaders must not be afraid to show courage in decision making in order to address pressing regional issues such as impacts associated with climate change and West Papua at the international stage.
These sentiments were shared by pacific civil society representatives that attended the Forum Secretariat-organised Troika breakfast this morning at the Cliff Hotel in Kolonia, Pohnpei.
In a two hour long breakfast dialogue with the Troika leaders (President of FSM, Samoan Prime Minister and PNG Foreign Affairs Minister), President of the Marshall Islands and the Palau State Minister, civil society representatives from the three sub regions talked on sports and youth unemployment, aging, violence against women and children, teenage pregnancy, fisheries, disability rights, humanitarian coordination and climate change mobility.
Pacific islands Association of NGOs executive director, Emele Duituturaga who was one of six speakers selected from the 16 CSO reps at the breakfast highlighted the need for Pacific leaders to remember the plight of West Papua.
“We are pleading with you Pacific leaders to remember the lives that have been lost in West Papua since the early 60s. Research estimates tag the number of Papuan lives lost to close to half a million. You can no longer turn a blind eye to their suffering,” she said to Jubi on Friday (9/9/2015).
“We are asking you to sponsor West Papua onto the UN decolonisation list and speak to the UN Secretary General for a special envoy to undertake a human rights assessment to West Papua,” she told the leaders.
“You have already demonstrated in your meeting last year that you can be courageous by deciding to send a Forum fact finding mission into West Papua but that has been rejected by Indonesia. Please continue to engage with them so that human rights abuses and atrocities on Papuans can be halted,” she added.
Samoa Umbrella for NGOs Manager, Rosa Maulolo who spoke on fisheries and ocean resources urged the leaders to look at effective ways of managing the ocean’s resources for future generations.
“We can’t control the effects of climate change on the ocean but we can and we should effectively manage our resources for future generations. The first step is to visibly recognise the issues of our ocean including the potential impacts of deep sea mining,” Maulolo said.
The other CSO speakers included Chuuk Youth Council president, Mr. Mori Mori, Fiji Association of the Deaf, Mr Michael Bete Din, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the Pacific disaster law and advocacy programme head, Ms. Finau Limuloa and former Samoa rugby rep and Training and Development Coordinator of the Samoa Association of Sports National Olympic Committee, Tuala Matthew Vaea. (*)