29 Aug 2006

New Zealand political party call for Papua to be on Forum summit agenda

7:03 pm on 29 August 2006

The Greens' Party is calling on the New Zealand Government to put the issue of Papua on the agenda for this year's Pacific Islands Forum summit.

The head of the Baptist church in Papua, the Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman, is touring New Zealand to raise awareness about the plight of the indigenous Melanesian people in the disputed Indonesian province.

He has been hosted at Parliament today by Greens' foreign affairs spokesperson, Keith Locke.

Mr Locke says the rights of the Papuan people were once regularly discussed at the Forum but in the past two years the issue has dropped off the agenda.

He says this is not good enough because the Papuans' aspirations for self-determination have been crushed by successive Indonesian governments.

Mr Locke says the so-called Special Autonomy is not working, and Papuans are still being mistreated, and sometimes killed, by army units unaccountable to the provincial government.