14 Aug 2002

Papua activists ask Fiji Prime Minister for help with their independence campaign

6:35 pm on 14 August 2002

A group of Papuans have arrived in Fiji to lobby this week's Pacific Forum summit for independence for their Indonesian ruled territory.

They have written a letter to Fiji's Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, seeking his assistance against the continued violation of human rights in their homeland.

The letter to Mr Qarase, in his capacity as Chairman of the Forum, says Papuans have been subjected to a life of misery and constant terror under Indonesian rule.

They say Indonesia has overseen a brutal and exploitative occupation of the territory for almost four decades.

The letter points out that last year, Papuans were denied visas and barred from lobbying at the Forum while Indonesia was welcomed as a Post Forum dialogue partner.

At this year's Forum, different Papuan groups are presenting a united front on their demand for independence.