Let’s not forget about West Papua

The Leader of Opposition Hon. Matthew Wale yesterday, met with the Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Mr. Jacob Rumbiak.

Mr. Rumbiak updated Hon. Wale on the human rights situation in West Papua, and the ongoing struggle for self-determination by West Papuans.

Hon. Wale reaffirmed his clear and strong support for the need for Indonesia to allow unimpeded access to Ms. Bachelet the UN Commissioner for Human Rights to the West Papuan provinces.

Hon. Wale stated that the recent military response to peaceful protests by West Papuans and human rights abuses add to the already serious human rights abuses by Indonesia against West Papuans over many years, and Solomon Islands must not remain silent on the issue.

“The Human rights situation in West Papua is an issue for Solomon Islands, as it ought to be for the rest of Melanesian countries and Pacific Islands Forum member countries. Indonesia must not be allowed to buy silence on this matter ”, Hon. Wale Said.

Hon. Wale also said that the issue of human rights abuses in West Papua is closely tied to the issue of self-determination for West Papua. Indonesia continues to suppress the legitimate aspiration of West Papuans for self-determination and refuses to allow for meaningful dialogue on the issue.

“Solomon Islands must stand very clear for the right of West Papuans to decide their own destiny. It is not our place to say whether West Papua should be independent or not – that must be a decision for the indigenous people of West Papua only, and Indonesia must allow a process to determine it.”, Hon. Wale said.

Hon. Wale further stated, the sincerity of Indonesian assistance to Solomon Islands would be tested by Solomon Islands standing clear on these issues. The Opposition Leader then calls on the Prime Minister to not weaken his stand on these two very important issues for our Melanesian brothers and sisters when the MSG meets next month.