14 Mar 2013

Vanuatu churches oppose government's Papua stance

2:38 pm on 14 March 2013

The Chairman of the Vanuatu Christian Council says it hopes the government will take heed of the nation's sentiments on the West Papua issue.

Vanuatu's Anglican Bishop, James Ligo, says at its just completed general assembly in Honiara, the Pacific Council of Churches passed a resolution for the World Council of Churches to pressure the United Nations to send a monitoring team to Indonesia's Papua region.

Ni-Vanuatu have long voiced strong support for West Papuan rights but Bishop Ligo says government policy doesn't reflect this.

"We know that Vanuatu has taken a side-step on that (the west Papua issue) and we know that our government supported Indonesia's observer status on the MSG, we know that. But again, we also believe that as churches we have the right to advocate and continue to remind our countries and our leaders to be concerned about our West Papuan brothers and sisters who are suffering every day."

Bishop James Ligo

Meanwhile, the Daily Post reports that Vanuatu's opposition has called on the Prime Minister Sato Kilman to withdraw an agreement recently signed with Jakarta and to review Indonesia's observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The opposition supports the West Papuan application to become a full member of the MSG at the upcoming meeting in New Caledonia in July.