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Asia Pacific Report

The Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) has called on the Australian government to stop trying to keep Papua off the agenda at the Pacific Islands Forum and “strenuously support” Pacific leaders in urging Jakarta to allow a PIF fact-finding mission to the territory.

Congratulating the PIF Secretary-General Meg Taylor on her statement to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, also called on Canberra to back the call for the visit to West Papua by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

An AWPA statement from Sydney said Taylor raised the issues of covid-19, climate change and West Papua and pointed out that the pandemic must not hinder efforts to address critical issues.

About West Papua, she said the violent conflict and subsequent human rights violations in West Papua had been of concern for PIF leaders for more than 20 years.

Joe Collins of AWPA said, “The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), the two main regional organisations in the Pacific, are very important for the issue of West Papua,” said Joe Collins of AWPA.

Pacific leaders regularly raised the issue of West Papua at the UN and other international fora, given credibility to the issue on the world stage. This was the reason Pacific leaders were regularly condemned by Jakarta.

“The human rights situation in West Papua is an issue of great concern for Pacific governments and their people and has the potential to impact on relations between Australia and countries in the region,” Collins said.

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