PORT MORESBY (ULMWP/Pacific Media Watch): The Solomon Islands Special Envoy on West Papua, Mathew Wale, today cautiously welcomed the decision by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders to take forward a request to the Indonesia government on a fact finding mission on human rights.
This was the will of "all the Pacific leaders and their people, including Australia and New Zealand and PNG as chair" is mandated to consult with Indonesia.
“Looking back at previous leaders' commitments on the West Papua issue, today’s decision is historical in definitely progressing the agenda in a forward motion," he said in a statement.
"There are only two possible outcomes to expect from here on and that is either Indonesia refuses outright the request of all Forum leaders and face the consequences or they agree to begin a difficult process that includes terms and condition for the fact-finding mission,” said Wale.
He said he hoped Indonesia, considered an important Post Forum Dialogue partner by the Forum, could be persuaded to come to the table to begin the robust dialogue to address the terms of reference for a fact-finding mission.
"The role of PNG entrusted as chair of the Forum to begin these negotiations places significant burden on PNG to ensure that it does not confuse its bilateral economic and trade interest with Indonesia and its moral responsibility to seeking a just resolution on behalf of the Forum member countries and the people of the Pacific," added Wale.
The leaders' communique specifically highlighted some of the concerns about the human rights situations in the Papuan provinces.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said this was the reason why the Forum was calling on all parties to protect and uphold the human rights of all residents in Papua.
“The people of Papua and civil societies have longed cried for this recognition and today we see an opening that gives us some comfort and hope that all Pacific leaders want all parties to protect and uphold our human rights and put an end to this atrocity," said Wale.
Octovianus Mote, secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), said: "What this means for us is that we have a right to be part of this process.”
Mote said the ULMWP, together with the Solomon Islands Special Envoy on West Papua, would stand ready to assist in a difficult process to ensuring a just resolution.
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