Pacific Islands Forum to ask for Fact Finding Mission to West Papua

September 16, 2015

After many months of campaigning, lobbying and support from across the Pacific and around the world, we are happy to report that the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) has taken action on West Papua.

West Papua for PIF banner
As well as showing concern about the human rights violations in West Papua, the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum also called for human rights protection and for an addressing of the root causes of the conflict. (The root cause of the conflict in West Papua ultimately comes down to West Papuan self-determination being violated by Indonesia is the 1969 so called “Act of Free Choice.”)

The Pacific Islands Forum also asked the Forum Chair (which is currently Prime Minister Peter O’Neill of Papua New Guinea) to consult Indonesia on a fact finding mission to discuss the situation with the parties involved.”

The full Communique can be read below:

16. Leaders recalled their decisions and concerns expressed at their meeting in 2006 about reports of violence in Papua, in which they also called on all parties to protect and uphold the human rights of all residents in Papua and to work to address the root causes of such conflicts by peaceful means.

Pacific Island students in Fiji with flags of many Pacific nations, showing Pacific wide solidarity with the people of West Papua.

17. Leaders recognised Indonesia’s sovereignty over the Papuan provinces but noted concerns about the human rights situation, calling on all parties to protect and uphold the human rights of all residents in Papua. Leaders requested the Forum Chair to convey the views of the Forum to the Indonesian Government, and to consult on a fact finding mission to discuss the situation in Papua with the parties involved.

Many thanks to everyone 

We are very grateful to everyone involved in calling for the Pacific Islands Forum to discuss and support West Papua, including in calling for a fact finding mission. We would like to thank the leaders of the PIF as well as all the organisations and individuals, everyone who helped to contribute towards this historic first step.

Massive thanks also to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Mannasseh Sogavare and his Special Envoy on West Papua, Matthew Wale for taking a very worthy stance of true Melanesian and Pacific Island solidarity; supporting a fact finding mission as well as West Papuan membership of the PIF and the re-inscription of West Papua to the UN Decolonization list.

There’s a long road ahead but this Pacific Islands Forum meeting has made a significant difference in raising West Papua onto the Pacific leaders agenda and making it now firmly a regional issue.

With continued rising support from across the Pacific family, the West Papuan struggle for self-determination is climbing the international agenda every day. Together we can make it a United Nations priority!