25 Jun 2014

Activist in Fiji calls for leaders to speak up over West Papua

2:22 pm on 25 June 2014

The Indonesian Embassy in Fiji says West Papua is an internal matter for Indonesia and others should not interfere.

Its comments come after the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre was asked by Fiji police during the weekend to remove a banner displaying the words 'Free West Papua'.

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

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

The embassy has since provided a statement to the Fiji Times, saying it saw the banner and informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation of Fiji.

The centre's co-ordinator, Shamima Ali, says Pacific nations must take a stand on West Papua.

"Our Pacific Island leaders don't seem to care about the people. They seem to care a lot more about the Indonesian Government and what it can give to us, towards our development and so on, for us it is a form of prostitution whereby we keep quiet about what is happening to our brothers and sisters as long as the relationship with Indonesia stays firm."

Shamima Ali says the centre has now taken the banner down but it has made its point.

She also says the centre did not feel under any duress by Fiji police officers, who she says were just following orders.