25 Aug 2016

Bishops back West Papua's MSG bid

1:57 pm on 25 August 2016

Catholic bishops from the Pacific region have declared support for West Papua to have a greater international voice.

The Catholic bishops said in a statement after meeting in Papua New Guinea that they urge governments to support the West Papuan people's desire to participate fully in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Catholic Cathedral in Apia in Samoa. church, christian

Catholic Cathedral in Apia in Samoa Photo: RNZI/ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Last month, MSG leaders deferred a decision on West Papua's membership bid after Fiji and PNG continued to oppose its application.

The bishops have also spoken out about the treatment of asylum seekers sent by Australia to PNG's Manus Island and Nauru.

They said callousness can never be the proper response to human tragedy.

Canberra has said its policy of sending asylum seekers into off-shore detention has stopped people smuggling and saves lives.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs