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Papua plea

Tevita Vuibau
Friday, June 27, 2014

CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) have taken to wearing black and red ribbons in support of self-determination for West Papua.

Their actions come just days after Indonesia told people to keep out of the West Papua issue, saying it was "entirely an internal matter" for Indonesia.

The Indonesian Embassy in Suva had also informed the Fiji Foreign Affairs Ministry of pro-West Papua placards raised by the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre that was later taken down after police requests.

In a statement sent by the Pacific Conference of Churches yesterday, they reiterated their support of West Papua and said CSOs were bringing their voices to the cause.

"Black and red ribbons were distributed in the CSO community and the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) unfurled a banner at their Suva office," the PCC said.

"CSO groups which wore ribbons yesterday were PANG, the Pacific Conference of Churches, the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, the FWCC and the Methodist Church.

"It is expected the pro-West Papua will continue the lobby every Wednesday."

Freedom calls for West Papua has come to a head in the past two weeks with the hosting of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the PIDF summit held in Nadi.

Stories of alleged human rights abuses, rape and torture perpetrated by Indonesian soldiers on West Papuans have drawn criticism from around the world.

During the PIDF summit, it was expected that President Yudhoyono would address criticism of Indonesian policy in West Papua, however, none was ever publicised.

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