18 Aug 2006

Seminars in Auckland today and tomorrow to raise awareness about Papua

10:10 am on 18 August 2006

NGOs in New Zealand are organising workshops over the next two days in Auckland to try and raise awareness about the plight of the people of Indonesia's Papua province.

Called West Papua - The Hidden Pacific Conflict, it will involve a number of campaigners for the Papua self determination movement, with a key note address from Reverend Socrataz Yoman, the head of the Baptist Church in the province.

Maire Leadbetter of the Indonesia Human Rights Committee says they are very concerned about the human rights abuses and suffering of the West Papuan people.

But she says a key prompt to hold the workshops was the sense few seem aware of what is going on in Papua.

"They somehow don't realise that it is even a country in the Pacific peopled by Melanesian people with similar cultural traditions to their neighbours in Papua New Guinea, and some similar problems, environmental problems and problems with aids."