UK petition calls for West Papua chemical weapons investigation

West Papuan independence campaigners are supporting a British parliamentary petition calling for investigations into Indonesia’s alleged chemical weapon use in Papua.

Labour MP Alex Sobel last month filed a motion demanding the British government and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons investigate.

Since then, 22 other MPs have added their names to the petition, which claims there is “sufficient documentary evidence” of chemical weapon use by Indonesia’s military in Papua.

The motion said there was witness testimony and journalistic reporting showing Indonesia’s military has used “burn-causing chemicals, potentially including white phosphorous”.

Indonesia’s military and government have described the claims as baseless.

The motion also noted increased Indonesian military and police activity in Papua’s Nduga regency, where the security forces are pursuing members of the West Papua Liberation Army.

The Free West Papua Campaign said supporters in the UK can contact their local MP to register support for the motion.

Source: RadioNZ




Department of Climate Change sets foundation

A workshop underway in Port Vila aims to develop the vision, mission and objectives to guide the new Department of Climate Change.

Organised by the Department of Climate Change, the three-day workshop which ends tomorrow (Friday) brought stakeholders in both government and private sector together to discuss what the department exist to achieve and how it will fulfill its purpose.

It is the first time that the Department of Climate Change is facilitating a workshop, following the appointment of its new director.

Director Mike Sam Waiwai said the workshop will set the foundation for the young department.

The establishment of a separate Department of Climate Change under the Ministry of Climate Change was approved by the Council of Ministers (COM).

”The government recognizes that climate change is the most complex and urgent issue affecting us today,” Director Waiwai said.

”Vanuatu like any other small developing countries contribute less to global warming but is suffering enormously.

”Climate change is putting Ni-vans and their livelihoods at risk.

”The new department will serve the needs of communities affected by climate change.

”It will also support the government to achieve its national and international climate change commitments.”

Director Waiwai said one of the first activity the department plans to do is educate people, mostly in the rural areas about climate change. He believes they lack knowledge on the issue.

According to Director Waiwai, the new Department of Climate Change staff are individuals who specialise in climate change issues.

Source: Vanuatu Daily Post

UN welcomes setting of Bougainville referendum date

The United Nations in Papua New Guinea has congratulated the governments of PNG and Bougainville for confirming a date for the independence referendum.

In a statement the UN said the referendum will give the people of Bougainville the opportunity to express their opinion on the future political status of the autonomous Region of Bougainville, as guaranteed in the 2001 Peace Agreement.

A meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body last week set the poll to start from 12th October this year.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Gianluca Rampolla, said the decision highlighted again the strong commitment of the two governments to work together to continue to support peace in Bougainville.

He has also welcomed the supervisory body engaging with the Post-Referendum Planning Taskforce.

The UN said it will continue to partner with both governments, recognising that the referendum is a very important step in the process, to be followed by a consultation phase between the two governments before the National Parliament exercises its final decision-making authority.