Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor, has called for urgent action to end increasing violence in West Papua (Tanah Papua) along with a human rights investigation in a statement released on 2 September.
Her message has been welcomed by a member-led network of global civil society organisations, the Pacific network of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC).
In Dame Taylor’s statement, she said she is “deeply concerned about the situation in West Papua, and I call for calm, and restraint by all parties”.
“We reiterate our calls for all parties to protect and uphold the human rights of all residents and to work to address the root causes of the conflict by peaceful means.”
“I repeat the recent call by Forum Leaders in Tuvalu for the parties to finalise the timing for a mission of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to West Papua (Papua),” she said.
Regional Secretariat of GPPAC Pacific, Executive Director of Transcend Oceania, Adivasu Levu said the escalation of violence is evidence of a prolonged conflict that requires urgent attention.
“As Pacific peacebuilders, we amplify the call for a human rights investigation as well as mobilization of peacekeepers to support the realization of a just peace”.
Peacekeeping support should be accompanied by gender and youth inclusive community level dialogue and mediation, peace education and trauma healing, she said.
GPPAC Pacific Regional Representative and Chair of the GPPAC Board, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls said generations of women and children, generations of communities in Papua have continued to suffer in the struggle for independence.
“The current situation requires the United Nations and member states to work with civil society including the churches and peace networks to bring about an urgent shift to non-violent political negotiations as well as humanitarian assistance to affected communities.”
She said a peace dialogue process must support the participation of women and young people as key stakeholders in defining the outcomes.
Also calling for the deployment of a specific Pacific led peacekeeping and peace support mission to West Papua is GPPAC Pacific member, the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC).
In an earlier statement, PCC referred to the increasing levels of violence as a humanitarian crisis and continues to urge Pacific Island countries to enhance diplomatic mediation with Indonesia that could result in a referendum for independence.
GPPAC is a network of global civil society organisations around the world dedicated to conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Members of the GPPAC Pacific include Talitha Project – Tonga, Transcend Oceania, FemLINKpacific, Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding, Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation – Bougainville, Vanuatu Young Women for Change, Vois Blong Mere Solomon and the Pacific Conference of Churches.