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West Papua issue internal: Eoe

September 5, 2019, The NationalNational 

FOREIGN Affairs and International Trade Minister Soroi Eoe says the current uprising in West Papua is an “internal Indonesia issue”.

Eoe told Parliament yesterday that it “did not matter how everyone felt” the issue was an internal matter for Indonesia and urged Papua New Guineans to consider how they addressed the issue.

“Our responsibility first and foremost is to the people of Papua New Guinea, as how we address the issue now will also determine our future in the region,” he said.

Eoe said that he understood the issue was about freedom, however, it would be right and proper for the matter to be addressed by the UN Human Rights Council.

He said the plight of the indigenous people of West Papua was discussed at a Pacific Island Forum Meeting as a human rights issue and that a request for a human rights commission to move in and assess the situation had already been made. “That assessment report will be presented at the next Pacific Island Forum Meeting in Vanuatu next July,” he said.

“The Government’s official position remains that West Papua is an internal Indonesian issue.”

Meanwhile, Vanimo Green MP Beldan Namah said the uprising was a “sensitive international issue” that could affect PNG’s security.
Namah asked the Government if it had a counter response plan if the uprising spilled over the border to PNG.
“How ready is our police force and army to combat any spillover effects?” he said.

Namah also asked the Government what was being done to ensure the safety of Papua New Guineans living along the border.

He also called on Eoe and Prime Minister James Marape to ensure the nation was prepared if the situation in West Papua continued to escalate.

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