10 Oct 2003

West Papua independence movement seeks closer links with Pacific Island nations

12:09 pm on 10 October 2003

The Free Papua Movement or OPM is lobbying NGOs in Fiji to set up support groups to end what they call Indonesian colonisation of their land.

The Daily Post reports that the OPM representative in Vanuatu, Dr John Ondawame, is in Suva meeting non-governmental and civil society groups.

He wants them to set up a network of support groups to pressure Pacific Forum countries into taking action against atrocities being committed by Indonesian authorities in West Papua.

Dr Ondawame says he is hopeful that NGOs would pool their resources and persuade the Fiji government to take a different stand from those of New Zealand and Australia in the OPM struggle for an independent West Papua.

Dr Ondawame says the OPM hopes to set up offices in most Pacific Island countries so they can get a unified Pacific voice for their cause.

He says about one hundred thousand West Papuans have died in the conflict with Indonesia since it took over the former Dutch territory in 1969.