14 Oct 2011

Focus of Papua congress remains self-determination says church leader

4:02 pm on 14 October 2011

The leader of the Baptist church in Indonesia's Papua says the focus of this weekend's national congress in the provincial capital Jayapura remains self-determination.

The start of the four-day meeting will end a week of deathly conflict associated with a strike by thousands of workers at the Freeport McMoRan gold and copper mine.

Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman says its timing makes the third national congress different from earlier meetings.

He says the United Nations secretary general's mention of Papuan independence at the Pacific Islands Forum highlights growing international support for the cause.

"The difference is a good moment. Because the UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon made a good statement in Auckland, 7 September 2011 in Auckland. It's a good moment."

Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman says the gathering of formal delegations from Papua's two-hundred-and-50 tribes on Sunday is expected to draw up to 15-thousand Papuans to the university venue.