4 Jun 2015

People movement needed for West Papua change - NGOs

3:18 pm on 4 June 2015

A Fiji civil society leader says regional efforts to help bring about change in West Papua must be driven by the people, not governments.

Shamima Ali

Shamima Ali Photo: SUPPLED

Fiji Civil Society Groups have criticised the prime minister Frank Bainimarama over his support for Indonesia to become an associate member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group rather than West Papuans being granted membership.

MSG countries are considering a membership application by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

The Fiji's Women's Crisis Centre's Shamima Ali says there's a groundswell of public support for West Papua but that Frank Bainimarama and other regional leaders tend not to advocate for these interests.

"The MSG is one thing, which is very important, but I think there needs to be an ongoing movement throughout the Pacific, including Fiji in particular, given Fiji's influence and how much it is influenced by Indonesia, that this is a movement that should continue and seen right through to the end."