West Papua seeks Forum fact finding mission
A West Papuan leader is touring New Zealand seeking support for a Pacific Islands Forum fact finding mission to the sent to Indonesian region.
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua is calling on the Pacific Islands Forum leaders to send a human rights fact finding mission to the Indonesian region.
The movement is seen as the body representing the Melanesian people and recently became an observer member at the group which unites the Melanesian countries, the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The ULMWP's secretary general is Octo Mote, who is touring New Zealand to rally support, told Don Wiseman about their plans.
OCTO MOTE: At the Forum Secretariat, when the Papua issue was put at the table among four other regional issues, there was no objection from any member countries, so we presume New Zealand will do the same thing, which is, they will not object about this humanitarian fact-finding mission; more even I am certain that the government, there is no reason for them not to support it.
DON WISEMAN: A fact-finding mission, I guess, if you get the go ahead, the critical thing is going to be the quality of it and where it can go, as well.
OM: That's right, we learnt from what happened in the Melanesian Spearhead Group foreign ministers' delegation who visited Papua. It was really arranged by Indonesia, and they were going there under Indonesia's invitation. So the difference with this one is that the Forum ask Indonesia to go and have unfettered (access), so they can go anywhere, independently, and with assistance by the experts on human rights, media, so that not only the government officials but really this is the first time, after Indonesian colonisation of West Papua in the 1960s. So therefore, we would really like to... it's open to not only government delegations but really with human rights experts, journalists and you know, so it can really dig into what's happened in West Papua in the past 53 years. Otherwise, we West Papuans are crying for the creeping genocide that's taking place. We have an academic report about it. At least two universities have explained about genocide taking place; and about more than two or three international NGO details about genocide; as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on genocide, Juan Mendez. He included West Papua among ten nations around the world that are about to (be) extinct if there's no international intervention. And this reality is really also on the ground now, for example two Governors of west Papua have spoken out in the public media about the speeding up of the colonisation process that Indonesia is doing in the last seventeen years (transmigration). They divided West Papua into more provinces, more regencies, bring in more spontaneous migrants. The population today in West Papua is: we West Papuans 48% and Indonesians 52% today. In five years from now we will be only 25 percent. This is a real threat and this is why West Papua's current governor, for example, gave an award to West Papuan women who gave birth to more than four babies -- he gave a public award to West Papuan women who gave more people.
DW: Returning to the Forum. It's very interesting isn't it that they are now prepared to talk about Papua because they have refused for the last number of years, and your organisation is also looking to do something similar to what's happened to the MSG, is that right?
OM: That's right. It is very interesting hearing this discussion compared to 2007 which is the last time West Papua was discussed, really because we are recognised now as a MSG observer. We have the MSG chairman, Prime Minister Sogavare (of Solomon Islands) who leads us in front to put the agenda in. So, MSG countries are behind as well as massive supporters on the ground, not only in the Melanesian countries, but all the way to Micronesia and the Polynesian countries. This is amazing and we are confident that we will get support from small island countries. We don't see any reason for New Zealand and Australia to oppose this because here we only call for a fact-finding mission so it will be also a case for these small countries about these two big countries' response when big humanitarian crises are happening in small island countries. This is the killing of a nation -- Indonesia has already killed more than 500,000 West Papuans in the past 53 years. We are under threat [and] without your help we will lose everything, and this is a loss of a big island with more than 400,000 kilometres, rich with natural resources will be invaded by the biggest Muslim population country in the world. This is a threat not only to us, but once Indonesia takes over the next target will be Papua New Guinea and the Islamisation process will continue and then the economic control will continue. So it is a threat really to the small islands, so you are better off helping us to stop there so that we create a land of peace not only in West Papua, but across this entire part of the Earth, because West Papua is the only island in the South Pacific that's been a consistent conflict zone since 1962.
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