19 Oct 2011

No talk of violence at Papua congress: church leader

4:29 pm on 19 October 2011

The head of Papua's Baptist church says discussions on achieving self-determination at the disputed Indonesian region's third national congress are focused on using peaceful means.

Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman says about one-thousand representatives of Papua's 250 tribes are gathered at Cenderawasih University for the meeting, which began yesterday with the raising of the Papuan flag.

He says exiled Papuans such as Benny Wenda and Otto Ondawame have conveyed to the congress continuing commitment to international lobbying for independence.

Mr Yoman says there's no talk from the delegates of using violence to achieve their aims.

"Long time, long period, self-determination is their main demand, self determination on their own ends. And also they demand that the Indonesian government and the international community, the United Nations, recognise their political right."

Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman say about two-and-a-half-thousand members of the Indonesian security forces are stationed around the university campus like panthers.