New Zealand could improve the "critical" human rights
situation in West Papua by pursuing the peacemaking role that
proved successful during the earlier Bougainville conflict,
human rights advocate Frederika Korain says.
Miss Korain, a West Papuan undertaking university
postgraduate study in Canberra, spoke in Dunedin recently
about human rights and associated gender issues in West
After her talk at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict
Studies at the University of Otago, she said New Zealand
enjoyed a "very good reputation" in the region.
And she believed offering to help resolve issues would not
harm New Zealand's "very good relationship" with the
Indonesia Government, andIndonesia would also benefit from
New Zealand could host Indonesian representatives and people
from West Papua on neutral ground, and act as mediators, as
had happened successfully during the Bougainville conflict,
beginning in 1997.
Some peaceful demonstrations in West Papua had recently been
broken up violently by the authorities, and some civil rights
leaders had been killed.
A "horrible situation" had developed and positive action was
needed, she said.