PM stuns by speaking up for West Papua



Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has pledged to do more to speak out on behalf of Melanesians in Indonesian West Papua.

O’Neill says it is time to raise West Papua oppression.

In the past, Port Moresby has stuck firmly to its position that West Papua is an integral part of Indonesia, and has been reluctant to talk about human rights abuses or to speak on behalf of Melanesian separatists.

In a speech to the National Leaders summit today, Mr O’Neill said the time had come to speak about the oppression of “our brothers and sisters in West Papua’’.

He told leaders, to some cheering and applause: “Sometimes, we forget our own families, our own brothers, especially those in West Papua.

“I think as a country, the time has come to speak for our people about the oppression there.

“Pictures of brutality of our people appear daily on the social media and yet, we take no notice.

“We have the moral obligation to speak for those who are not allowed to talk. We must be the eyes for those who are blindfolded.

“Again, Papua New Guinea as a regional leader, we must take the lead in having mature discussions, with our friends and more so, in an engaging manner.”

On Friday, the United Liberation Movement of West Papua will formally apply to become full members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Powers in the Pacific region will be watching that meeting keenly to see if Papua New Guinea repeats the PM’s remarks of today and shows leadership in raising the issue.



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