Pacific nations call for UN investigations into alleged Indonesian rights abuses in West Papua

Pacific nations call for UN investigations into alleged Indonesian rights abuses in West Papua

Pacific nations call for UN investigations into alleged Indonesian rights abuses in West Papua

Updated 2 March 2017, 22:25 AEDT

A group of seven Pacific island nations is calling on the United Nations to investigate allegations of widespread human rights abuses in Indonesia's Papua region, also known as West Papua.

Key points:

  • Alleged abuses include extrajudicial killings and beatings of activists
  • Mr Warsal called for UN report to address "actual situation in West Papua"
  • Indonesia has rejected the allegations

Vanuatu's Justice Minister Ronald Warsal made the request to a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and spoke on behalf of his own country as well as Tonga, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands.

Mr Warsal said various UN bodies and representatives had raised concerns about serious human rights violations committed by Indonesian security forces, including extrajudicial executions and beatings of West Papuan activists.

"To date the Government of Indonesia has not been able to curtail or halt these various and widespread violations, he said.

"Neither has that Government been able to deliver justice for the victims. Nor has there been any noticeable action to address these violations by the Indonesian Government."

Mr Warsal called on the Human Rights Council to request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to "produce a consolidated report on the actual situation in West Papua".

"The report must make recommendations for immediate action to halt the pattern of human rights violations," he said.

Indonesia rejected the allegations of widespread, ongoing human rights violations in West Papua.

"The Indonesian Government has always endeavoured to address any allegation of human rights violation as well as taking preventative measures and delivering justice," an Indonesian Government representative told the Human Rights Council.

West Papua, a former Dutch colony, became part of Indonesia after a UN-supervised referendum in 1969 that involved only a small segment of the indigenous Melanesian population.

There is strong support among many Pacific island nations for West Papuan activists who want another referendum to be held.