6 Sep 2004

Pacific needs to stop regarding Papua as part of Asia, says human rights advocate

7:26 pm on 6 September 2004

A Human Rights conference in Brisbane has been told that the Pacific needs to change the way it regards the Indonesian province of Papua.

The chairman of Papua's ELSHAM human rights group says it's time Pacific governments do more to address human rights abuses of Papuans under Indonesian rule

John Rumbiak says Papua should not be treated as a part of Asia, because Papuans themselves are part of the culture and history of the Pacific and their development has long-term ramifications for the region.

"The whole human rights problems in West Papua have to be seen as a part of the whole fundamental issue of the history of the denial of their right to self-determination. And the problems with military in West Papua is that the international community, including governments like Australia, New Zealand and governments around the world, they keep aiding Indonesia militarily, which has resulted in this ongoing human rights violation."

John Rumbiak.