Monday, June 23, 2014

What comes first - home or thought for others?

from w
In a letter to the editor of the Fiji Times today, a writer says that political party hopefuls should concentrate on local issues, what's going on at home, and don't talk about other countries.  However I think concerned citizens can do both - local issues do take a priority but at the same time there needs to be an awareness of the lives of people in nearby countries such as the plight of the indigenous people of West Papua.  So when I see a protest by Fiji people when the President of Indonesia visits I think it is relevant to show a concerm rather than remain silent.  And leaders of the churches also spoke up about West Papua.

Ali joins fight

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
ONE of the region's leading human rights activists, Shamima Ali, has called on Pacific Islanders to make a stand with their West Papuan brothers and sisters.
The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre executive director Shamima Ali joined a chorus of voices around the world by displaying posters to free the women and men whose rights have allegedly been violated by Indonesia.
Ms Ali said it was important to raise the seriousness of the matter. Her bid to raise this awareness and stand by the West Papuans seemed to have rubbed some members of the public the wrong way and Ms Ali claimed she was issued a directive by police to remove the posters.
Yesterday, Indonesian Embassy third secretary Berlian Epriliyana said they would release an official statement on the issue today.
Police chief operations officer ACP Rusiate Tudravu also said he would prefer not to make a comment on the issue.
"We put this up because we are a human rights-based organisation and we are also the chair for the NGO Coalition on Human Rights for Fiji and the Pacific and we have received quite disturbing reports about human rights abuses in West Papua from our contacts," Ms Ali said.
"Especially against women and young children and as part of the campaigns, this is why we felt we should put down something like this as part of the campaign on human rights."
Plea for West Papua
Tevita Vuibau
Friday, June 20, 2014
CHURCHES in Fiji and the region are throwing their voices behind self determination for West Papua. Their support comes as the PIDF hosts Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at its second summit in Nadi this week.
Indonesia has maintained rule in West Papua since 1969 and has in the past been accused of widespread human rights abuses. There have also been claims that Indonesia holds political prisoners from West Papua with some jailed simply for attending flag raising ceremonies of the West Papuan flag — the Morning Star. And with Mr Yudhoyono in the country, churches are making their opinions known in the hope of encouraging dialogue on West Papua.
Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae acknowledged Mr Yudhoyono's visit was a sign of PIDF's growing profile. Yet he advised caution. "The glamour of State visits must never undermine the community's responsibility to search for the truth," Mr Pihaatae said. "And regional governments must not let Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's presence at the PIDF cloud their judgment on the issue of self-determination in West Papua."
He said the visit could be attributed to Indonesia furthering its Pacific interests but questioned whether it was also influenced by growing regional support for West Papua and a push to usurp Australia and New Zealand from their traditional seats of Pacific power. "Where our self-determination interests are concerned, whether it be in the areas of governance, development and security, or our firm support for West Papuan freedom, we cannot allow the State visit to cloud our prudence and better judgment."
The Methodist Church in Fiji said its immediate concerns was human rights abuses in West Papua and called for action from leaders. Church spokesman James Bhagwan said they understood Fiji was strengthening ties with Indonesia but also pointed out its close relationship with fellow MSG member PNG.
Anglican Archbishop of Polynesia Winston Halapua said the time for complacency on West Papua was over. "We cannot in this part of the world say that is out there — no they are part of us — the leadership has to come from inside and their part is to be clear what they ask of us."
In his speech to the PIDF yesterday Mr Yudhoyono said Indonesia believed that "peaceful settlement of disputes; abiding respect for norms and principles that govern inter-state relations; and respect for universal democratic values, an alternative vision of a world at peace and in prosperity — a pacific world — is attainable." He also told Indonesian paper The Jakarta Post that he would address the issue of West Papua at the PIDF summit. "Therefore, we hope the matters on Papua, which are often internationalised by certain elements, can be overcome by, among other things, establishing strong and good ties with the countries of the South Pacific," he said. He also said he would use the forum to reduce misinformation and disinformation on the West Papua issue.

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