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Pacific Islands Forum to observe electoral activity in West Papua

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Alfred Soakai, political issues advisor of PIF (second from right) visited Monday (13 February) he visited the socialization hold by General Elections Commission of Jayapura City – Jubi/Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – In keeping with its ongoing commitment to good governance and free and fair elections in the region, the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) will be participating in election related missions to Indonesia and Nauru this week. Two of forum advisor also visited Papua and West Papua Province to observe the election in both provinces.

The Forum has received an invitation from the Chairman of Indonesia’s General Elections Commission to take part in the Election Visit Programme for the 2017 Indonesian Regional Head Elections, which take place on Wednesday 15 February.

The elections will see over one hundred regions within seven provinces across the country go to the polls.

Secretary General of the Pacific Islands, Dame Meg Taylor accepted the invitation saying

“The Pacific region and Indonesia share a belief in the principles of good governance and fair and free elections.  I’m sure there is much we can learn from the third largest democracy in the world.”

The Forum team will comprise Acting Director-General for Vanuatu’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Sambue Antas, and Fetogi Vaai of the Samoan Electoral Commission, with support from the Forum Secretariat.

Alfred Soakai, political issues advisor of PIF said he will observe the election in Jayapura from 13 – 16 February. On Monday (13 February) he visited the socialization hold by General Elections Commission of Jayapura City.

“I also met the regent of Jayapura Regency and had discussion on the election issue,” Soakai said to Jubi. (*)

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Australia Greens Party is ready bringing support to West Papua

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The panellists in a discussion ‘On Our Doorstep – West Papua’s Deadly Struggle for Independence’ that held at the Australian Greens Party National Conference, 19 – 20 May 2018 in Brisbane – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – The Australian Greens Party reaffirms their support for West Papua’s political demands on self-determination and its inclusion into the UN Decolonisation List at the upcoming General Assembly of the United Nations in 2019.

“Around 30 people including senators from the Greens attended the National Conference,” Veronika Koman, a human rights lawyer told Jubi on Wednesday (05/23/2010). Ms Koman was a panellist in a panel discussion at the Australian Green Party consolidation that held on Saturday, 19 May 2018 at Griffith University, Southbank Campus, Brisbane.

“I described the current state of human rights in Papua as well as how the response of the movement in Indonesia to support Papua’s issues. Regarding human rights, I spoke about the rights to self-determination according to the international law,” she told Jubi via WhatsApp call from Sydney, Australia (23/5/2018).

Also joined in the discussion entitled ‘On Our Doorstep – West Papua’s Deadly Struggle for Independence’ as panellists were Dr Jacob Rumbiak representing the ULMWP; a community-based researcher, lecturer and activist Jason MacLeod; and two senators from the Greens Richard Di Natale and Andrew Bartlett.

The panel discussion was part of a two-day Australian Greens Party National Conference held on 19 – 20 May 2018, which addressed strategic issues of the party’s working program. The theme for May’s Conference was ‘From the little things, big things grow’.

“We are honoured to hear from speakers regarding their activism for West Papua. Therefore, we urge the National Conference to support the Papuan people’s struggle for self-determination,” said the International Secretary of the Australian Green Party Viviene Glance in a press release for Jubi on Tuesday. (5/22/2018)

The Greens, as it commonly known, through a consensus post-panel discussion on 19 May 2018 set a resolution to show their support to West Papua, as follows:

1. To reaffirm our commitment to the right to self-determination of the West Papuan people;

2. To recognise the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) as the representative of political aspirations of the West Papuan people;

3. To support West Papua to be re-incorporated into the UN Decolonization list at the upcoming General Assembly 2019;

4. To urge the full disclosure of Australian aid in West Papua granted to the Indonesian Police and the military, including the Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, Special Detachment 88;

5. To request the Indonesian government to support the human rights of West Papuans, including freedom of the press and freedom of expression;

6. To ask freedom of access for foreign journalists to West Papua.

“As a result of the panel discussion, the Greens Party members agreed in a consensus to establish an urgent resolution for West Papua at the conference,” Glance wrote.

Since May 2016, the Australian Greens Party has joined with other parliamentarians from several countries to support West Papuans towards their political future. The Greens Party leader Di Natale, who launched the Australian International Parliamentarians for West Papua in 2012, regretted Australia’s lack of interest to West Papua in his 2016 speech.

“Though the UN has stated the Papuan people are threatened with extinction if human rights in Papua still violated, unfortunately, their suffering ignored by the Australian Government,” said Di Natale.

The Australian Greens Party is a political party based on four key principles, namely ecological sustainability, grassroots democracy, social justice and peace and non-violence. They have nine senators representing eight states and one territory, and a senator representing the party in the Australian federal parliament. (*)

 

Reporter: Zely Ariane

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Shift in Solomon Islands government’s view on Papua

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Solomon Islands parliament Photo: RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins

Solomon, Jubi – A leading foreign affairs official from the Solomon Islands government says it’s now seeing a balanced picture on Indonesia’s Papua region.

The government is consulting with the provinces as it formulates an official position on West Papuan human rights and self-determination issues.

Consultations follow a visit by a Solomons government-led delegation to Indonesia’s provinces of Papua and West Papua at the invitation of Jakarta.

The Solomons’ Special Secretary on Foreign Relations, Rence Sore, was one of the government officials in the delegation.

He said the visit was aimed at achieving a balanced picture of what’s going on in Papua.

“Before we went we had been listening to the other side of the story. And the story we heard, we were always hearing at that time, was there’s always human rights abuse, there’s always fighting for independence, someone is being killed and all that. It’s one-sided, all one-sided.”

Rence Sore said that when they went to Papua region, the story was entirely different.

He said that for now the government had yet to decide on its official position regarding West Papua and Papua provinces.

“We’re trying to give the government a good picture. Both sides of the coin we have to tell the government, and the government independently makes that policy decision.”

The delegation’s visit and resulting report were indications that the Solomon Islands government, under prime minister Rick Hou, was approaching a different stand on Papua to that of the previous prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Sogavare, who is now the deputy prime minister, campaigned internationally about West Papuan human rights issues. He was also supportive of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, and instrumental in its admission to the Melanesian Spearhead Group in 2015.

The Liberation Movement, which Indonesia’s government opposes, last month voiced disappointment that it wasn’t notified by Solomon Islands about the delegation’s visit.

Mr Sore, who said his government consulted with Indonesian authorities for the visit, noted the Liberation Movement’s strong connections with civil society organisations in Solomon Islands.

“And to some extent, that strong connection also was with the previous Solomon Islands leadership, government, prime minister.

“We went (to Indonesia) with authorisation from the current prime minister, and official authorities were notified.

However Mr Sore would not be drawn on whether the Hou-led government had shifted position on Papua.

“That decision is not yet formal. It depends entirely on the report. We did a report when we came back, and we are still doing the consultations on the policy. That policy will go through the government cabinet.” (*)

 

Source: radionz.co

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Will Solomon Islands change its position on West Papua case?

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Solomon officials who visit West Papua on April 2018 – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi/RNZI – A leading foreign affairs official from the Solomon Islands government says it’s now seeing a balanced picture on Indonesia’s Papua region.

The government is consulting with the provinces as it formulates an official position on West Papuan human rights and self-determination issues.

Consultations follow a visit by a Solomons government-led delegation to Indonesia’s provinces of Papua and West Papua at the invitation of Jakarta.

The Solomons’ Special Secretary on Foreign Relations, Rence Sore, was one of the government officials in the delegation.

He said the visit was aimed at achieving a balanced picture of what’s going on in Papua.

“Before we went we had been listening to the other side of the story. And the story we heard, we were always hearing at that time, was there’s always human rights abuse, there’s always fighting for independence, someone is being killed and all that. It’s one-sided, all one-sided.”

Rence Sore said that when they went to Papua region, the story was entirely different.

He said that for now the government had yet to decide on its official position regarding West Papua and Papua provinces.

“We’re trying to give the government a good picture. Both sides of the coin we have to tell the government, and the government independently makes that policy decision.”

The delegation’s visit and resulting report were indications that the Solomon Islands government, under prime minister Rick Hou, was approaching a different stand on Papua to that of the previous prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Sogavare, who is now the deputy prime minister, campaigned internationally about West Papuan human rights issues. He was also supportive of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, and instrumental in its admission to the Melanesian Spearhead Group in 2015.

The Liberation Movement, which Indonesia’s government opposes, last month voiced disappointment that it wasn’t notified by Solomon Islands about the delegation’s visit.

Mr Sore, who said his government consulted with Indonesian authorities for the visit, noted the Liberation Movement’s strong connections with civil society organisations in Solomon Islands.

“And to some extent, that strong connection also was with the previous Solomon Islands leadership, government, prime minister.

“We went (to Indonesia) with authorisation from the current prime minister, and official authorities were notified.

However Mr Sore would not be drawn on whether the Hou-led government had shifted position on Papua.

“That decision is not yet formal. It depends entirely on the report. We did a report when we came back, and we are still doing the consultations on the policy. That policy will go through the government cabinet.”

Regarding that visit, The Solomon Star reports Development Service Exchange (DSE) spokesperson Jennifer Wate made the comment while rejecting any involvement in the trip.

This is despite DSE chairperson, Inia Barry, being among several from civil society organisations who went along on the visit which was hosted by Indonesia.

Ms Wate said her organisation had found out about the trip the evening before the delegation‘s departure for West Papua.

The DSE did not endorse Mr Barry or any of the other civil society representatives who took part in the West Papua visit, she said

Ms Wate maintained her organisation was not aware of any details of the trip or its terms of reference and she called on the Solomon Islands government in the future to formally approach the DSE on matters that required civil sector representation.

Ms Wate also admonished the government for not informing civil society groups in West Papua ahead of their trip. (*)

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