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Benny Wenda: Pacific Islands Forum must allow UN access to West Papua

West Papua news

Benny Wenda, Interim President, United Libration Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) Provisional Government, recently sent the following statement to the Pacific Islands Forum sitting in Suva, Fiji.

On behalf of the Provisional Government and people of West Papua, I would like to welcome the 51st Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders’ meeting in Suva, and wish all involved a successful summit.

It is vital that Pacific leaders show timely and effective leadership on the great issues facing our region, namely the human rights crisis in West Papua and the existential threat of climate change.

West Papua is a green land in a blue ocean. Our blue Pacific has always united our peoples, rather than dividing them. In this spirit of Pacific solidarity, we are grateful for the support our Pacific family showed for our struggle in 2019 by calling for Indonesia to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to visit West Papua. But Indonesia continues to undermine the PIF by refusing to allow a UN visit to take place. I am pleased to hear that an update on West Papua will be requested during the leaders’ meeting, but I must remind my Pacific brothers and sisters of the need to reaffirm their call for a UN visit.

For decades, we have been crying that Indonesia is bombing our villages and killing our people, but we have been ignored. Now, the world is taking notice of our struggle. The United Nations has shown that up to 100,000 West Papuan civilians have been internally displaced by Indonesian military operations in the past three years alone. They have fled into the bush, where they lack access to shelter, food, water, and proper medical facilities. This is a rapidly worsening human rights disaster, requiring immediate attention and intervention by the United Nations.

Indonesia hears the increasing calls for a UN visit, but is employing delaying tactics to avoid exposing their crimes against my people to the world. In the face of these tactics, I call on the Pacific Islands Forum to remain strong and united in their advocacy for fundamental human rights and democracy. If Indonesia has nothing to hide, why do they continue to avoid international scrutiny?

To all Pacific leaders, I say good luck. I pray for a successful meeting, and for safety and security for all our peoples. God bless all of our Pacific family.

Benny Wenda
Interim President
ULMWP Provisional Government

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