PNG Prime Minister to raise West Papua concerns with Indonesia

By Scott Waide

After decades of maintaining a relatively neutral stance, the Papua New Guinea Government will finally be making a strong representation to Indonesia to raise concerns over human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian Military in West Papua.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said in an interview with EMTV late Friday that the Foreign Affairs Department will deliver a diplomatic note expressing the concerns of Papua New Guinea citizens to the Indonesian government.

The response comes days after representatives of more than 4000 Lutheran women called on Peter O’Neill to look into the difficulties faced by West Papuans.

The public appeal for government attention to the West Papuan cause was made by Rose Muingepe, a Lutheran Women’s representative who was attending a conference in Mumeng outside of Lae City.

“We are asking the government to raise the plight of the West Papuans on the floor of parliament.  We know that women are being raped, men are being tortured and we want our government to pay attention to the issue.”

            Late Friday, the Prime Minister O’Neill, said a diplomatic note will be passed on to the Indonesian government through PNG’s Jakarta embassy. 

            “We need to respect international conventions made in organizations like the United Nations.   We also need to respect that Indonesia is a part of those organizations. 

“Through those conventions we will deliver a diplomatic note raising the concerns of our citizens over some of the reports that we are getting from West Papua on human rights abuses.”

This is the first time, in years, that a Papua New Guinea Prime Minister has acknowledged human rights abuses in Papua. 

Prime Minster O’Neill will also be bringing the West Papua issue to the attention of the Indonesian President in an upcoming democracy conference in Bali later this year.

*Watch News Story on video.

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