THE Catholic Church in Pacific has placed the issue of West Papua firmly in its sights after an impassioned plea from regional civil society groups.
Next month, Bishop Jean Bosco Baremes of the Diocese of Port Vila, Vanuatu, will travel to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to consult with the Roman Catholic Church.
It is already clear to the Roman Catholic Church that the indigenous people of Papua continue to face violence, torture and execution on a daily basis in their struggle for self-determination. Any of the Pacific’s bishops who were unclear on the situation in the Indonesian-annexed province were brought to terms with reality at a meeting in Suva, Fiji, last month.
As the meeting of the Conferentia Episcopalis Pacificii (Conference of Pacific Bishops – CEPAC) drew to an end, it was petitioned by the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA). The petition was delivered by ECREA Director and former seminarian, Sirino Rakabi, who called on the bishops to censure Indonesia for the ill-treatment of Papuans.
“We wanted the Catholic church in particular to address the issue of human rights abuses with the Indonesian government,” Rakabi said.
“The ill treatment of a people who have struggled for self-determination for more than half a century must end.
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