Catholic Church calls for protection of cultural integrity in West Papua

West Papua

There has been a call to protect the livelihood and cultural integrity of the people of West Papua.

The situation in West Papua was one of the main focuses in a statement issued at the end of their recent meeting in Auckland by the Executive Committee of the Federation of Catholic Bishops.

They called for:

  • Quality education
  • Fair and transparent access to jobs, training programmes and employment
  • Respect of land titles
  • Clear boundaries between the role of defence and police forces and the role of commerce

The bishops did not have a view on the question of independence for West Papua. “Indeed we believe that where this question becomes a single focus, care to uphold and strengthen local institutions of democracy may be overlooked.”

They noted that a large majority of indigenous people of Papua seek peace. “The large majority of indigenous people of Papua seek peace and the various dialogue groups, advocating and witnessing to peaceful co-existence, are a source of hope for all.”

New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee in New Zealand has turned down a call to push for a UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression to visit West Papua.

A human rights petition, organised by West Papua Action Auckland and supported by other human rights groups and Catholic and Anglican church leaders, had sought for New Zealand to condemn the arrest and intimidation of peaceful protestors.

The Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu and Palau have all called for UN intervention in West Papua.

Read the bishops’ statement


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

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