19 Oct 2006

NGOs in New Zealand call on Prime Minister Clark to put Papua on Forum agenda

7:24 pm on 19 October 2006

A consortium of 35 New Zealand NGOs is calling for prime minister, Helen Clark, to take the lead in ensuring the plight of the indigenous people in the Indonesian province of Papua is on the agenda at next week's Pacific Islands Forum summit in Nadi.

The Forum has previously discussed Papua but in the past two years it is been dropped from the agenda.

Spokesperson Maire Leadbetter says the NGOs and the people of Papua believe it is vital the region's leaders discuss Papua and Miss Clark should take a pro-active role in this.

"We think that is very important. She is very aware of the issues in West Papua. She has been very carefully briefed about the human rights abuses that are ongoing there and the current situation, and yeah, I think she has a responsibility and that we New Zealanders have a responsibility to lobby her and ensure that she does take some responsibility at this year's Forum."