WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Action needed on human rights in West Papua

Leesa Roy

West Papuan church leader, Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman, highlighted the need for urgent action on human rights in West Papua (formally known as Irian Jaya).

At a recent talk on his speaking tour of New Zealand, Reverend Yoman, the President of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of West Papua and a campaigner for peace, justice and human rights in West Papua, spoke about the human rights abuses occurring in his country.

Abuses included threats, violence, murder and torture of the civilian population by the Indonesian military.

Socratez expressed his concern that Indonesia would not allow journalists, United Nations and other international human rights monitors to enter West Papua. Without outside intervention, the human rights abuses would continue unabated.

Socratez’ talk highlighted the need for New Zealanders to not only be aware of their Pacific neighbour’s situation, but to take action.

He said New Zealanders could voice their concern about the human rights abuses in West Papua by writing letters to politicians and newspapers. As with East Timor, it is the actions of ordinary people that will stir the international community to take action.