Tag Archives: Fiji

Open Letter – FREE YOUTH ACTIVISTS AND RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OF WEST PAPUA

A Open Letter

 

To the Government of Indonesia, Indonesian Youth Activists, Indonesian Human Rights Defenders and Organisations, and the People of West Papua. 

RE: FREE YOUTH ACTIVISTS AND RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OF WEST PAPUA

A collection Youth/Human Rights Organisations and Advocates based in Fiji (and across Oceania) are concerned with the continued suppression of witnesses and the media regarding the imprisonment and secret court proceedings surrounding the arrest of 5 youth activists arrested on December 17th 2010 for raising the West Papua Liberation Flag.

Five youth activists Jhon Wenda, George Rawiay, Benha Supanga, Alex Duwe, and Iyance have been charged under Article 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code.

Some 200 people took part in a peaceful ceremony outside Manokwari in December 2010, during which the Morning Star flag, a symbol of Papuan independence, was raised in commemoration of the declaration of Papuan independence in 1962.  When the flag was raised, Indonesian Military advanced on the crowd, firing shots and beating people with batons.

We have been advised by colleagues within the West Papua Liberation Movement that the health of these 5 youth activist and safety after been detained since December 2010 is of serious concern. They also noted the media censorship on the case and how many witnesses are afraid to testify because of further repression. We have also been told that a heighten sense of fear has been fueled by the continued presence of a 1000 plus military presence in the province of Manokwari that were ordered into the area.

Human Rights and the protection of activists or defenders of these rights must be respected if we are to allow peace to exist in West Papua. Indonesia as a State signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many other Human Rights Instruments should see its role in the protection and advancement of Human Rights, Media Freedom, Civil and Political Rights of all peoples they claim to govern.

Indonesia was re-elected this year into the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2011-2014, which is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 States responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. Indonesia’s own human rights record has recently been brought to the forefront and we remind State parties of their obligations to ensure citizens are treated with dignity regardless of ethnicity, age or political opinion.

We urge the Indonesian President and Government of Indonesia, Indonesian Human Rights Organisations and all stakeholders  to intervene and ensure the release of the 5 youth activists and to make a public commitment that there will be no further arrests of individuals purely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, opinion, belief or association.  Specifically, we seek to ensure that laws concerning “rebellion” (Articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code) are not used against people who have engagedonly in peaceful activities.

As we do not seek to advocate a particular position on the political status ofWest Papua, We believe the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate referenda, independence or other political solutions under a free media.  These rights must be upheld and respected.

Signed 

 

Peter Waqavonovono

Young Peoples Concerned Network

Suva, Fiji

 

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls

FemlinkPacific

Suva, Fiji 

 

Filomena Tuivanualevu

Youth Coalition Fiji

(Former Ms Fiji) 

Suva, Fiji

Merewalesi Nailatikau

Youth Assembly of the Fiji Islands

(Former Ms South Pacific/Fiji) 

 

Veena Singh Bryar

FemlinkPacific

Suva, Fiji 

 

Melei MeleiTuvalu National Youth Council

 

Samuela Vadei

Western Youth United

Lautoka, Fiji

 

Felicity Dronavanua

Change Makers Youth Club

Savusavu, Fiji

 

Siosiua Po’oi Pohiva

 Friendly Islands Human Rights and Democracy Movement Inc

Nukualofa, Tonga 

 

John Tabeo

Rabi Youth Club

Rabi, Fiji  

 

Reginald Prasad

DAWG Youth Club

Labasa, Fiji

 

O A’U ( Oceania Audacities United)

Long Beach, California

‘Amelia Niumeitolu

 

Kris Prasad

Drodrolagi Movement

Suva, Fiji

 

Peni Moore

Womens Action for Change

Suva, Fiji

 

Seona Smiles

Writer

Suva, Fiji

 

Ester Grace

Soccer Initiatives for Girls

Ba, Fiji

 

Discombobulated Bubu

Democracy Advocate – Libertarian,

Fiji

 

Samuel Bird

Malaita Youth Club

Solomon Islands

 

Dennis Mekai

Vanuaku Youth Club

Santo, Vanuatu

 

Frank Lagi

Komas Bahai Youth

Honiara, Solomon Islands 

 

Sepesa Sigatokacake Rasili

Men Fiji

Suva, Fiji

 

Noelene Nabulivou

Fiji/Australia

Family Ties –Pacific Institute of Public Policy releases findings on first telephone poll

Family Ties – PiPP releases findings on first telephone poll

As leaders gather in Fiji this week for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit, the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) has released its findings from the first ever telephone poll conducted across Melanesia.

Seven questions relating to the “Melanesian family” of nations were posed, including one asking which major “non Pacific island” nation was considered to be the best partner for individual nations in the region.

MSG leaders may be encouraged that a majority (74.9%) of respondents were aware of the regional body to represent Melanesians.

When asked who they considered part of the Melanesian family, a clear majority of respondents included the established members (PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia) while 42% also included West Papua, 17.1% included Australia, 14.9% included Indonesia and 14.1% included Timor Leste.

Another question posed was “do you support independence for West Papua?” A clear majority of respondents across Melanesia said yes, with very high support in PNG (89.3%) and Vanuatu (88.2%). This suggests a disconnect between popular support and the position taken by governments in the region, except Vanuatu, which has long championed the West Papuan cause at the political level.

Asked to relate the relationship between their country and Australia, the majority of respondents said it was positive except those in Fiji. Australia is also considered to be the best external partner for PNG (40.5%) and the Solomons (40.4%), while for Vanuatu only 14.1% of respondents considered Australia best, whereas China scored 32.9%. Among respondents in Fiji there was a sense that it considered Australia, New Zealand, China and US as all roughly equal in importance.

In relation to engagement with Fiji, a majority of respondents including those in Fiji itself, opted for increased engagement or keeping the level of engagement as it is.

The views expressed by the respondents of this poll may assist MSG leaders as they deliberate on the future of this region. A copy of the poll findings can be downloaded here.

The Pacific Institute of Public Policy is the region’s leading independent think tank and exists to stimulate and support informed policy debate.

For further information please contact Talita on +678 29842 or ttuipulotu@pacificpolicy.org.