08 September 2015

Okinawa Governor Onaga to address U.N. Human Rights Council

Okinawa Governor Onaga to address UN
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is scheduled to hold its 30th session in Geneva, Switzerland from September 14 to October 2. It was confirmed on July 22 that Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga will deliver a speech at the UNHRC’s upcoming session. The Shima Gurumi Association, which aims to prevent new U.S. base construction in Henoko, has been working with several UN nongovernmental organizations to arrange for the governor to address the UN. The association is arranging for Onaga to deliver a speech at the UN on September 21 or 22.
Soon after being elected, governor Onaga showed his eagerness to work with the UN. If Onaga addresses the UN, it could spark debate on the Henoko relocation issue and could influence international opinion.
Receiving a request from the Shima Gurumi Association, the Citizens’ Diplomatic Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples showed its intention to give Onaga an opportunity to address in UNHRC. It is common for nongovernmental organizations with special consultative status at the UN to give third parties an opportunity to address UN sessions.
A representative of the center and professor at Keisen University Hideaki Kamiura was optimistic about Onaga’s address. “If governor Onaga can address the UNHRC, which deals with human rights issues, UN members will be able to see that what he says is a consensus of Okinawan people. It could possibly put pressure on the U.S. and Japanese governments,” he said.
In order to enable Onaga to address the UNHRC, the Shima Gurumi Association has been working with a UN authorized NGO, IMADR. While IMADR is in charge of scheduling for this session, it is the Citizens’ Diplomatic Centre that has provided Onaga a space to speak.
UNHRC sessions are held three times every year. The next conference will be held from September 14 to October 2. The regular meeting of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, which would normally be held in the middle of September, is unlikely to conflict with Onaga’s address because there will be five consecutive national holidays from September 19 to 23, making the governor’s schedule more flexible.
Prefectural assembly member Yoshikazu Tamaki who is also the executive director of the Shima Gurumi Association said he hoped the UN address would soon be confirmed.
“We will talk to Onaga about the schedule for addressing the UN after he comes back from Singapore. Although we cannot yet be sure whether we can lock in the schedule, we would like to make it happen,” he said.
(English translation by T&CT)

West Papua Becomes Most Controversial Issue in PIF Agenda

Secretary of Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor - Suplied

Secretary of Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor 

Jayapura, Jubi – The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) kicked off on 4 September 2015 with a workshop on Regional Media launched by the Secretary of Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor.
She told reporters that fisheries, climate change, human rights violations in West Papua, cervical cancer, and Information, Communication and Technology were on the agenda.
However, she did not give further detail on three recommendations that previously driven by PIF Secretariat to be discussed among the leaders of Pacific countries. Earlier, Taylor, who’s the first female Secretary General of PIF, said the Pacific leaders were possibly recommend three points of action, including sending an investigation team of the ministers of Pacific countries to West Papua, enforcing West Papua to be listed in the list of decolonization and providing sanctions against Indonesian private companies and State companies that convicted to human rights violations. She also said the allegation on human right violations has been submitted to the Pacific leaders as consideration.

“Three submissions that representing more than 30 civil society organizations throughout the Pacific have been proposed in the agenda. In term of nomenclature, these submissions have indicated the West Papua as a term used to describe the allegation on human right violations. Needless to say that West Papua is becoming the most controversial issue in the agenda,” said Taylor.

She further added in the discussion with Pacific leaders to prepare PIF, two issues that might be rejected in the forum are West Papua and cervical cancer.

“I will not answer it. I want the civil society in the Pacific to think and tell me what to do and the best way that I could inform the leaders, as I will meet with sixteen Pacific leaders on next week and I’ve been received a lot of opinions. They would consider these five issues. They might not discuss the entire issues, but West Papua issue would be a challenge for several Pacific countries. And about cervical cancer, many people do not understand about how important is this issue to be discussed for the sake of women and girls. The disease is killing many women in the Pacific,” said Taylor.

She also admitted the civil society groups in the Pacific pushed West Papua to be returned in UN decolonization list, like Tahiti. She confirmed that ahead to PIF, the civil society and non-governmental organizations throughout the Pacific (PIANGO) held a meeting from 1 to 3 September 2015 in Port Moresby, in which she was also participated. Two main issues that pushed by the civil society groups are Climate Change and West Papua.
The Executive Director of PIANGGO, Emele Duituturaga told Jubi on Saturday (5/9/2015) that despite the international agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, civil society groups in the Pacific also requested the Pacific leaders to pay attention on West Papua issue. “We have a direct resource from West Papua concerning to the violence of human right violations. Yes, we recognized that it is under question. That is the reason why we urged the investigation team to investigate the human right violations. It’s urgent,” said Duituturaga. She added PIANGO and other civil society groups in the Pacific also asked the Pacific leaders to enforce Papua to be listed in UN decolonization list.
Separately, Octovianus Mote, the Secretary General of United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) convicted about the struggle of the people of West Papua for an independence and sovereignty will succeed. It’s demonstrated through the supports of civil society that continually increased. Papua has become an issue not only in Melanesia but also in the South Pacific.

“Papua has become a concern of the entire South Pacific countries because the problem of Papua is the problem of the people in South Pacific. It’s not only covering Melanesia, but also Polynesia and Micronesia,” said Mote. He further added though there are government of certain countries that are trying to blockage the ULMWP leaders to safe their good relations with Indonesia, but they would not able to block the “people’s power” that are rolling in the South Pacific.

Concerning the issue of decolonization of West Papua, the former Kompas journalist said the Government of Solomon Islands is at the front.

“The decolonization of West Papua is part of the struggle of liberation of West Papua under the leadership of Papua Islands that is currently the Chairman of MSG,” Mote said. (Victor Mambor)