NZ accused of lack of leadership over West Papua

4:53 pm on 9 September 2015

A New Zealand opposition MP Catherine Delahunty says the New Zealand government is showing a lack of leadership and credibility over West Papua.

The Foreign Minister Murray McCully says he does not support a fact-finding mission to the Indonesian region by the Pacific Islands Forum.

The situation in West Papua is one of the five big issues on the Forum agenda and there have been calls from both NGOs and West Papuans for a mission to look into allegations of human rights abuses in the Indonesian province.

However Mr McCully says he does not back the calls.

"I haven't seen a role for a fact-finding mission but I think a healthy discussion about this matter amongst leaders will be useful and I think that Papua New Guinea and the chair will bring a good sense of balance and judgement to that discussion."

Murray McCully

Murray McCully Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

Ms Delahunty says the Pacific Islands Forum is the ideal venue to support an investigation into what she describes as the worst human rights abuses in the region.

The Green MP says more talk isn't going to stop West Papuans dying, or finally give them freedom and independence.

She says there is support around the Pacific for independence for West Papua and an international fact-finding mission is seen as the first step.

She says New Zealand's stance is shameful and embarrassing.

March for recognition

West Papuans living on the border between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia have staged a demonstration march appealing to Pacific leaders gathered in Port Moresby for recognition of their rights to self-determination.

About 400 West Papuans from Tabubil and Kiunga in PNG's Western Province gathered at the Kiunga Police station on Monday for the procession around Kiunga.

The Co-ordinator of the West Papua Interest Association, Ronald Waromi, says the people of West Papua are hoping Pacific leaders can afford them the same recognition they have given to others such as Tahiti and the Kanaks of New Caledonia.

"West Papua is the part of Pacific therefore in this opportunity we bring our plea to all Pacific Island leaders those who will gather in Port Moresby to see that West Papua is a part of the Pacific so they must support West Papua right for self determination."

Indonesia's Papua region: the provinces of West Papua and Papua

Indonesia's Papua region: the provinces of West Papua and Papua Photo: RNZ

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