oday, we raise the Morning Star flag as we do every Wednesday not only here in Fiji but the world over to stand with the people of West Papua in their ongoing struggle for independence.
Today is also very significant as the Forum leaders are meeting.
We remember the people of West Papua, particularly the women and girls who are suffering twofold due to the increased militarization of the province by the cruel Indonesian government.
We also remember those women, girls, men and children who have died and who are still suffering from state violence perpetrated on them.
We remember today the West Papua freedom fighters forced to live in exile.
As Pacific Islanders, we should make our voices heard loud and clear.
We stand with Nauru, Tonga, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Palau who have all raised their voices at the UN General Assembly about the plight of the West Papuan people.
This is very commendable but not enough.
All Pacific Islands should join the call.
In Fiji, our leaders are conspicuous by their silence.
Mr. Bainimarama as chair of this meeting should have negotiated for West Papua to be on the agenda but instead, he was visiting Bali in Indonesia last week where he said that “Fiji will continue to pursue strong bilateral relations with Indonesia ”
When we form global alliances we should be accountable and we should hold all our alliances accountable especially when it comes to Pacific issues and West Papua is a very important issue that should be on the agenda for all leaders in the Pacific.
We should also be hearing loud Pacific voices, especially from the leaders who should use their leadership and power.