3 Sep 2019

Vanuatu NGOs petition govt to follow up on West Papua outcomes

10:06 am on 3 September 2019

The Vanuatu Association of NGOs, or VANGO, has petitioned the government to issue a report to the Melanesian Spearhead Group on West Papua issues.

Ni-Vanuatu march in support of West Papuan self-determination aspirations.

Ni-Vanuatu march in support of West Papuan self-determination aspirations in 2016. Photo: Vanuatu government

VANGO wants the government to report on the outcome of the recent Pacific Island Forum summit in Tuvalu and on the plight of West Papuan students in Indonesia's Java.

At the summit, Forum leaders adopted a stronger stand on pushing Indonesia over human rights abuses in Papua.

Shortly after the summit, racist harassment of Papuan students in Javanese cities triggered the biggest protests seen in decades in Papua, and related unrest.

The petition raised concerns about the response by Indonesian authorities to the protests, including a ban on internet access and an increased military presence.

It also expresses solidarity with Resolution 37 of the Pacific Forum which calls for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently investigate abuses in West Papua.

VANGO consists of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, the Christian Council, the National Council of Women, the National Youth Council and the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association.

Its petition has been made in conjunction with the regional civil society group, PIANGO.

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