5 Sep 2016

West Papuan leader rallies support ahead of summit

5:09 pm on 5 September 2016
West Papua's Dr Octo Mote in Majuro

West Papua's Dr Octo Mote in Majuro Photo: RNZI/Giff Johnson

A West Papua leader says he is the most optimistic he has been in years about gaining support from this week's Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting in the Federated States of Micronesia.

The secretary general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octo Mote, said support for West Papua human rights and self-determination had been building throughout the island region over the past year.

He said a year ago that just the Melanesian Spearhead Group and Tonga supported them, but this year there was backing from Micronesian, Polynesian and Melanesian countries.

The key to his optimism was the strong advocacy of the Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who last year appointed the first government envoy for West Papua and provided government funding for his work.

Dr Mote said the Marshall Islands President, Hilda Heine, had made it clear her country was backing the West Papua cause.

He said for the Marshalls human rights was the main issue.

Dr Mote said West Papua's case for self-determination would finally get back to the United Nations Decolonization Committee for review.

The ULMWP asked the Forum to support a call to the UN to review the case of West Papua.

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