11 Aug 2004

Papuan separatists disappointed with Forum communique

3:32 pm on 11 August 2004

The separatists in the Indonesian province of Papua have expressed disappointment that the Pacific Islands Forum has dropped reference to Papua from its communique issued at the Samoa summit.

Last year, the Forum expressed concern about the violence in Papua and supported special autonomy for the province.

Human rights abuses have continued in Papua which has been the scene of a long-running rebellion that has cost more lives than any other conflict in the Pacific since the second world war.

The Forum expressed concern about the humanitarian crisis in Sudan but made no mention of Papua whose pro-independence advocates had sought Forum observer status.

The international spokesperson for the Free Papua Movement, John Ondawame, says the communique is a disappointment.

"This is a surprise - we are really disappointed. I hope this is notthe position of the Forum for the next meeting in Papua New Guinea."

Papua New Guinea's border with Indonesia's Papua province is the only land border of any Forum country.