PCC pushes for UN human rights mission to West Papua

The Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) has expressed deep concern over the recent brutal torture inflicted on indigenous Melanesians in West Papua by Indonesian military members. According to a news article published by Suara Papua, Rev James Bhagwan, PCC General Secretary, this appalling incident is the latest in six decades of Indonesian oppression against the people of West Papua. The statement was made in response to the widely circulated video footage depicting the torture of an indigenous Papuan by Indonesian military personnel in the Puncak Regency, Papua Tengah Province, in February 2024.

In view of the upcoming Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders’ Meeting, Rev Bhagwan raised questions about how the MSG can continue to tolerate frequent reports of human rights violations in Indonesia. Indonesia currently holds an observer status in the MSG. He called for Indonesia’s suspension or expulsion from the MSG if it refuses to facilitate a visit by the UN Human Rights Commission to West Papua.

Rev Bhagwan emphasized that Indonesia, as a signatory to various UN conventions, should guarantee its citizens’ civil and political rights, including those in West Papua, regardless of their political ideology or religious beliefs. Indonesia has been re-elected for the next term as a United Nations Human Rights Council member until 2026.